I’m finding it really hard to write this review. For the last few months my weekly playlists have been blessed with a slow flow of Active Child tracks, both demos and remixes. Then there was the brilliant single on Transparent, the b-side, more remixes and now an EP. Six tracks of pure, blissed out beauty, and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed.

I know I’m being over dramatic; it’s an EP. It’s not even half an hour long. But the name Active Child has grown pretty dear to me recently. It’s been a bright spark on a boring day at work, a warming soundtrack on a cold walk home, and a barrier from the fighting couple on the Mega Bus.

The Curtis Lane EP doesn’t disappoint. It’s what I’ve come to hope for from LA’s Pat Grossi; echoing beats that clip at the corners of my speakers, a blanket of synths I can feel wrapping around my shoulders, and lyrics that manage to be both deeply personal and entirely accessible.

It’s lines like “But I know exactly where I am/Somewhere between making love and being friends” that have probably been penned from some heart ripping tale of past love, but still lend themselves very neatly to whatever scenario I fancy rehashing in my head while listening. I just want to pretend that Pat and I, on some level, could be friends.

And then there’s the wrenching refrain of ‘Take Shelter’, “If you’re afraid in this world/Say a prayer tonight/Lay down close your eyes/You’ll be safer in my arms.” Reading it back it looks pretty corny, but when it’s swathed across a backdrop of darting synth and static beats it just sounds inviting.

I feel like that’s the key to this record. At times it reminds me of the alluring misery of Cold Cave, but the songs are more welcoming, more hopeful. However, it’s the sparest moment that really hits me on every play. It comes halfway through EP closer ‘Wilderness’, suddenly everything drops out. No lyrics, no layers, no love notes. All that remains is a pulsing beat, the core of Active Child. But even stripped down to the bone, it’s still infinitely beautiful.


Active Child: ‘Wilderness’