Listening to the newest album by British punk band Hands off Gretel is kind of like taking a trip through an amusement park where things are a little twisted and slightly quirky but at the same time incredibly fun.
The band is led by a female singer/ songwriter named Lauren Tate. She’s a petite, pretty pixie-like girl who is usually seen wearing cute baby doll frocks with her partially dreadlocked hair dyed green, blue, pink, or whatever other colour she feels like sporting. Her band members include her close friend Sam McAvinue, a kick ass guitarist who cites The Descendants as one of his biggest influences and his favourite band. Sean Hobbins, the former lead guitarist in Lauren’s solo band who joined Hands off Gretel as their official drummer in early 2015. Later, the group added a fourth member, Joe Scotcher who plays bass and some guitar.
The band is a mix of grunge/ alternative rock and modern punk with a hint of 80’s pop. Some of the musical artists who have influenced Lauren are Courtney Love from Hole and bands like Bikini Kill and L7. Their band name was inspired by a track by Babes in Toyland called “Handsome and Gretel” who Lauren listened to at the tender age of 14.
The group hails from South
Yorkshire, England and although they only formed about three years ago they’ve already come a long way—especially since they’ve taken a non-traditional approach to making signing with a record label, Hands off Gretel decided instead to record, produce and market their sound entirely on their own. The band is content with their status as a “DIY” band for now and prefer the freedom that this allows them to create and hone their unique style and to say what they want to say. Mrs. Tate, Lauren’s mother, acts as their manager and helps them to organize shows and also handles their accounting. It’s a great working solution which gives Lauren’s family a good deal of involvement in their work and Lauren believes that her mother is just as, if not more, capable as a professional agent.
It certainly seems that way as the band is now preparing for their first official overseas tour in Germany where they say they have a pretty large fan base. In addition, they’ve also completed their fourth album titled Bedroom Sessions. This follows a series of well received albums that include Be Mine, released in the beginning of 2015, My Size, and their third album which really started to get them noticed called, Burn the Beauty Queen.
Hands off Gretel has a style which is brazen and cheeky which is perfectly suited to the lead singer of the group. Lauren Tate is a saucy and sexy female who brings her youth, beauty, and a powerfully rich voice to the forefront of the music in a way that has a somewhat hypnotic effect on their listeners.
It’s obvious that Lauren has a pretty good sense of the range of her talents as she goes from growling to crooning with playful ease on stage and in their videos.
Lauren has said that much of their music tells the story of a good girl gone bad and also confronts other issues typical to a British Youth: relationship issues, image and identity, jealousy amongst peers and emotional ups and downs.
The song, “Bad Seed” for instance is directed towards the haters who Lauren
and the guys have encountered as they gained interest and popularity in the public eye. Their image is unique with a flair for the gritty grunge and trippy pop that has influenced them from day one. They’ve got a bright future ahead of them and their rise to musical stardom is only just beginning. Lauren and the rest of Hands off Gretel look forward to exploring their sounds and singular style and by the looks of things there is nothing to hold them back from making many more lasting impressions.