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Bored At My Grandmas House embraces vulnerability on Show & Tell

Release date: 14 June 2024
BAMGH Show and Tell cover
12 June 2024, 09:00 Written by Emily Savage

For many, the childhood memory of being bored at your grandparents’ house may have resulted in watching endless hours of daytime TV, but for Amber Strawbridge, it was a catalyst for her artist project.

Since her debut, the Cumbria-born, Leeds-based musician has architected her creative vision with striking precision (aside from the missed apostrophe in her moniker, that is). Landing four years after her first single, Strawbridge’s debut album sees her navigate the tumultuous process of self-analysis.

A pensive deep dive into the intricacies of her mind, it ties together themes of mental health, humanity, and queer love. Juxtaposing the lyrical depth of songwriting with transcendent, eclectic sonics, each track effortlessly balances melancholy with touches of escapism. Pre-empted by the glistening lo-fi of “Inhibitions”, the titular track sees Strawbridge build upon her signature guitar-driven sound, as she grapples with the fear of vulnerability. “What's the point in me trying to let you in / When I'm locked out myself?” she poignantly poses in the bridge.

Honing her lyrical abilities as a storyteller, each track paints a picture of exactly where Strawbridge is currently. Whether she’s dabbling in the dreamy, nostalgia-drenched shoegaze of “Friendship Bracelets”, or being left to ponder on her thoughts on “Heavy Head”, the over-arching theme of connection serves as a guiding thread throughout. “I’ve got a heavy head / But there’s nothing left inside of me,” she outpours, against an ambient backdrop of jangly guitars and crisp percussive beats.

The need to connect with not only herself, but equally the world around her, sees the burgeoning artist balance moments of intense introspection alongside wide-lensed reflection. A stark rumination on the scathing consequences of human greed and hedonism, ‘How Do You See The World’ brims with thought-provoking, existentialist questions. “How do you see the world we’re living in? / Are we the greatest thing or are we nothing?” she leads with in the hypnotic chorus. It’s not until much later in the record that she seems to find some comfort in answering her own question. “We See The World In The Same Way” acts as a mildly reassuring part two to the former track and speaks to Strawbridge’s ability to build an atmosphere.

Weaving between pop and indie subgenres, the record sees the 22-year-old accentuate the strengths of previous work. On the wittily titled “Don’t Do Anything Stupid”, subtly distorted vocals echo against carefully layered instrumental textures, which later culminate into an effervescent climax of crashing cymbals. Meanwhile, “Moving Slow” employs sleek, guitar tones, as understated vocals grapple with the relentlessness of daily life: “I need space / To re-find my pace” she sings.

Closing out the record, "Hide & Seek" is a testament to the versatility of Strawbridge's sound. What begins as a lone, gently twanging guitar melody develops into a sprawling collage of sonic textures. Tapping into new facets of her artistry, it reaffirms the songwriter’s growth and secures strong foundations for what is yet to come from Bored At My Grandmas House.

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