In many ways, the story behind Childhood already sounds familiar; based in South London, the band was conceived on a drunken whim whilst at University. Yet since supporting Palma Violets on tour last year, Childhood have outgrown their familiar backstory through their indie soul.
Childhood’s debut album, Lacuna, carries a dreamy melancholic feel from the opening track, Blue Velvet, to the final bars of When You Rise. But one of my favourite aspects of Childhood’s music is that they are unashamed to be influenced by pop, as heard in the brilliant tracks As I Am and Solemn Skies.
The pace of Lacuna was slower than I had anticipated. Blue Velvet’s melody is shared by the electric guitar and lead singer, Ben Romans-Hopcraft’s voice - both instruments carry a wistful tone. Hopcraft’s mournful voice continues throughout You Could Be Different and for most of the album until it is broken by Solemn Skies. Yet listening to Lacuna did not leave me feeling bleak, as many of its tracks are kept upbeat by a quick, strong drumbeat and guitar pinching.
As I Am is a personal favourite from the album, as it blends pop music with sincere lyrics:
All the things that’s left to lose And try to understand.
The band have spoken out against ‘pop-shaming’, clearly stating that, “What we strive to do is make classic pop songs. We use the basic form of pop music, find our own space within it, and produce an off kilter perception of pop.” So, as an album, Lacuna blurs the genres of pop, indie, and soul to create a sound unique to the band rather than one that is constrained. This is commendable in itself.
Solemn Skies was the first track I heard from Childhood and it remains my favourite. With great guitar riffs and heavier drumming than most of the album, Solemn Skies has remained in my head for days on end. The lyrics offer playful rhetorical questions of, “Do you wanna hide / Or do you wanna ride?” which I appreciated. Solemn Skies’ instrumental ending continues the dreamy feel of Lacuna, though it feels out of control rather than melancholic and sounds like the perfect song to end a set with.
Pay For The Cool carries a faster pace than the rest of Lacuna whilst Ben’s vocals continue to sound wistful. It is in this track that comparisons between Childhood and The Stone Roses are most justified (though in my opinion, any links are still stretched).
As a debut album, I can appreciate how well Lacuna has been put together. Yet for me it’s only a few tracks that really stand out and make this record. I am intrigued to see what music Childhood continue to make, though think they would be best appreciated live. You can catch the band playing Bestival to round off the summer, or head to their Facebook page for details of their upcoming UK tour which starts in Sheffield on 3rd October.