Childhood, a four piece band now based in London, are bringing out their first album, “Lacuna”. Recorded with Dan Carey, who has worked with everyone from Bat for Lashes to Franz Ferdinand to Kylie Minogue, Childhood obviously want to capitalize on the promise of the debut single “Blue Velvet” and the follow-up “Solemn Skies”, which are also included here. This album has chasing the big time written all over it and there are some moments that make you think it could happen.
Blue Velvet comes first. With a tricky little guitar riff that makes you smile, it shows off the beginnings of what seems to be their trademark sound: the echoing sweet vocals, the chorused guitars, and a thumping bass. Childhood are really good at the build up to the chorus. Their endings tend to drop off, like a band on stage who still hasn’t figured out how to end a song, or maybe just doesn’t want to be seen as consciously theatrical.
You Could Be Different has that taste of the Sixties and a poppy chorus. There is a line of fuzzy sound that is twinned with the guitar and a strange synth effect that disappears the minute we get down the admittedly appealing path to the chorus. “She haunts me in the night but she’ll be gone in the morning.” It feels like an ode to love that will last forever, or at least until breakfast.
Right Beneath Me starts with a nice Roy Orbison/surf style phase shifted guitar sound. “This song will burn no bridges”. The chorus with the falsetto vocals gives you a cool hand on sunburn feeling, pleasant summer shivers. It may not burn any bridges but it shows what’s possible.
Falls Away is the single. All the instruments begin at the same time, eager for their moment in the radio spotlight. There’s a slight Coldplay feel here, outlining the trajectory from lonely room to calling out over the cliffs, to ultimately adapting emotion for the stadium. It’s got that big sound that hints at big success.
Tides tries to be simpler, distorted banging on the back of a chair underneath those echoing vocals. Half palm trees, half hanging out in Victoria Park in the shadow of the tower blocks watching the children play. They are really good at the chorus. It’s also the point where a question comes up. Can you ever have too much echo? Discuss.
Pay for Cool is hyperactive punk pop with everything turned up to 11. “Now you think I’m wrong” shows a moment of defiance that stands out against the marshmallow skies of endless echo. It’s a song to come back to, the one that could be so much more. There’s a lot of potential here, the run faster guitar riff in the beginning ambushing us like an electric shock, that moment of almost natural vocals, slicing through the clouds.
At times, the album is the sonic equivalent of the wall of sound that happens when you open the door to a very loud club. You’re bludgeoned with noise, dazed, and eventually sucked into the crowd just as you realize that the new drug your friend made in the lab is maybe missing an important molecule. Shoegaze for the radio, the sound is full and super-saturated, a Day-Glo painted mix made to be seen in the sunlight.
It’s probably going to be very popular.