Euros Childs - Summer Special
Not actually, as it may appear, one of the ever growing list of band names which combine two apparently random words to make a seemingly meaningless moniker, Euros Childs is in fact the actual name of man, and prolific producer of a dainty and off kilter pop music in many forms.
Hailing from Wales and best known for his leading part in 90s pop outfit Gorky's Zygotic Mynci. Childs has given life to 8 albums (alongside various collaborations) since embarking on his solo career, in the space of only 6 years.
This quantity of recording promises nothing in the way of quality. But if early releases are to be used as oracles, what we should expect from Childs in Summer Special is something which is nothing if not varied - his past works have spanned instrumental ballads to psychedelia to folk pop, and beyond - and although built on simple pop song templates, with enough maverick lyrical charm to give the songs an edge.
Unfortunately, this isn't quite what we've got. Before its releases, Childs professed that he intended to make an album of pure pop, and if staying true to intentions are what's being judged here, then the album is certainly a success. The twelve songs, only one of which comes in at more than three minutes long, are piano based pop ditties, lead by Childs' vocals detailing 'That Old Familiar Feeling': "You're falling in lu/oo-oo-oo-uh-uhv" and the reasons why we should 'Be Be High': "Don't be low/shake your head/wiggle your toe-ou-oh-ou-ohs," complete with accompanying violin, beach boy harmonies, and a touch of the rock-abilly to the rhythm, all the while sounding outstandingly Welsh.
Two tracks in, 'That's Better' states it's place as the obvious choice for a single, creeping its way into the brain like a parasite, which sucks at your sanity and patience for sickly sweet pop melody, and can't be removed without some unpleasant sounding medical procedure.
And from here, it doesn't get a whole lot more interesting. The majority of the tracks stick to the familiar pop formula, with the accompanying themes of love, unrequited or otherwise. 'These Dreams Of You' takes the album onto a slightly more plodding, solemn plane for the final few songs, but certainly this isn't the diverse piece of work we might of hoped for. Looking back after a few listens, it's hard to distinguish one song from another, and there's nothing about the lyrical work which brings in back round either, although he does say shit once, which is probably the one thing which prevents Summer Special being exactly the kind of thing my (Welsh) Grandmother would listen to.
This isn't to say that there's anything wrong with my grandmother's music taste, or that it isn't enjoyable pop music, it certainly could be enjoyed and no doubt will, it's just that you could probably enjoy a family holiday to Butlins in the '50s along side it, which isn't, all things considered, really what we might have hoped for.
Purchase and listen
The last time I saw Euros Childs he was still at the helm of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, the band he founded aged sixteen, whilst still at school in Carmarthen. They were near the end of their career then, and their delicate psychedelic pop was heading towards prog-rock. [read more]
Label: Wichita Release Date: 27/10/2008 Link: http://www.euroschilds.com/ Fourth solo album from the ex-Gorky's Zygotic Mynci singer First a confession: I know next to nothing of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci (having always pegged them, probably unfairly, as a poor manâs SFA), let alone the solo work of their former front man.Â In fact, when a friend suggested that we catch Euros Childs at the recent Concrete & Glass festival I wrongly assumed that it was the name of a new band until he en... [read more]
It may be a result of the vast, sprawling countryside, or it might be the Celtic mysticism of a nation that traditionally recounted legends and folk tales in ballads and song, but Wales has always had a thriving folk music scene dating back to the late 60's and the formation of the Sain record label (a subsidiary of which, Gwymon, is responsible for releasing this album). Tethered For The Storm is the second album by Welsh singer/songwriter Gareth Bonello, aka The Gentle Good, and its delicat... [read more]
Label: Wichita Website: http://www.myspace.com/euroschilds There is much beauty in simplicity here, slight gentle melodies from a childâs organ that spin around like a whirligig beetle carrying with them some bare percussion and playful funny lyrics before disappearing giggling to themselves or fading into wistfulness. Iâve really had a lot of fun listening to this album, everyday nuggets of life wisdom are mixed in with quirky silliness. One of my favourite lines is âDâyou li... [read more]