Earlier this week, NME revealed a Top 100 list of the most influential bands in music today. Although London-quartet Childhood did not actually make it into the Top 100 itself, their name could be seen scattered throughout man of the bands who did make it. The likes of Blur, The Stone Roses and The Clash were all said to have a large influence on Ben Romans Hopcraft-fronted group, something which is extremely evident and everpresent throughout the whole of their debut album, Lacuna. The 11-song record encompasses trippy vocals and wavy guitar lines in order to give off an extremely youthful sound. Read on to find out what All Things Loud thought of this album.
Opening with the already familiar single, Blue Velvet, a memorable and jangly guitar riff kicks off the record in true slacker style, as guitar melodies overlap eachother whilst Romans Hopcraft dreamily wails over the instrumental cacophony accompanying him. Its chorus lifts the song, before You Could Be Different introduces itself with synths, fuzzy guitars and more dreamy sounds. It’s more uplifting than Blue Velvet, with the backing vocals pre-chorus standing out in particular, before the chorus itself polishes the rough edges present in the verses. As I Am keeps in line with the dreamy trend, as Romans Hopcraft coos sweetly over acoustic guitars, before double-tracked vocals take the lead. Once again, the dreamy elements are present, with odd synthesizer stabs and tribal drums giving the song some more weight. Although the dreaminess on Lacuna is already starting to get slightly predictable, it does fit in well with the overall mood the songs present. Right Beneath Me is another slower track, exposing a weaker side to Childhood as the song goes on to encompass a long-winded synth solo, before Falls Away remains downbeat with intricately precise drums and airy vocals, which make way for a radio-ready chorus on one of Lacuna’s better tracks. Sweet Preacher follows, with an upbeat-yet-hypnotic guitar melody getting lost in reverb similar to how the listener will eventually lose themselves in the music. The chorus is catchy, something which Childhood do pretty well. They’re able to avoid being too catchy and clichéd by making overproduced radio-friendly choruses, yet they still manage to include all the key parts of a good chorus.
Tides brings us just over halfway through the record, as slight breakbeat elements in the drums accompany wavy guitars and echoing vocals in one of the more RnB-tinged songs on the record, making for one of the more relaxing moments on the record. Tides is perfect for sitting poolside with a cocktail in hand, somewhere in the Caribbean. Another familiar track, Solemn Skies, follows this with eerie sounds building up a to a darker verse before the chorus kicks in with catchy falsetto’s and more jangly guitars, with the build-up later in the song very reminiscent of The Stone Roses’ longer, more drawn out escapades. Chiliad is, as the song may suggest, a very chilled out and relaxed track with a smooth riff and more dreamy sounding vocals. Although it suits perfectly most of the time, the vocals (along with some instrumental elements, for example the synths and guitar melodies) can get predictable in places. This is more acceptable, however, considering that Lacuna is just their debut album, with plenty more opportunities to fully sharpen their sound in the future. Penultimate track Pay for Cool uses interesting percussion sounds to accompany an interlocking bass and guitar melody, as the vocals hazily weave their way through the song at a much slower speed to the rest of the song. When You Rise closes the album on a high, as its opening melody holds the song together and helps it stay on track. Squiggly synths enter the play halfway through, building up towards a sharp crescendo as the song leads into a full-on rock out to bring Lacuna to a perfectly hypnotic ending.
Sure, there are plenty of high points on the album which point towards Childhood being an extremely exciting band but, as with many debut albums, it’s still quite rough around the edges in places, with a few too many predictable elements being everpresent. On the whole, though, an exciting album by an equally exciting band.
Lacuna is out on Monday, 11 August.