“Is the juice worth the squeeze? / Is the honey worth the bees?” CHILDCARE ask on the opening track of their second album Busy Busy People, which follows their 2019 debut Wabi Sabi. While the answers may not lie in reality, delving into the duos second outing it feels like all may become clear.
With references to rhubarb, zucchini, ants, Brookside and Gok Wan through the course of Busy Busy People, CHILDCARE (Ian Cares, Rich LeGate, David Dyson and Emma Topolski) fuse ever so slightly absurd, yet accessible, lyrics with infectious melodies and harmonies, making up their signature sound and the results are truly brilliant. This is something they have always excelled at, as Wabi Sabi was full of unusual references too - from songs about magazines to the Queen Mother.
Busy Busy People is evidently fun, but tracks like "Almost" are surprisingly intimate (perhaps even uncomfortably so in the sense that chief lyricist Ian Cares is so open and honest about wanting to get to know someone better). This new album also features dual vocals as Emma Topolski's unmistakably silky vocals join Ian Cares' on more tracks than we have previously seen from the band's offerings. Not to mention, there's an impressive guitar solo from Rich LeGate.
In contrast, their first single release from this album - "Karaoke Mantra" - is trippy and energetic. Featuring lyrical oddities such as: "So I tried something weird at the weekend / A kind of pyjama bath", it's particulalry reminiscent of their earlier material.
While there are potentially divisive tracks such as "Juice Is Loose" you cannot deny that the band have stayed true to themselves in refusing to negotiate on their quirkiness. Closing track "Lunch" is an emotive highlight and a beautiful listen in ode to our favourite meal of the day.
The tracks on Busy Busy People range from frenetic ones to tear jerkers. It's great to see CHILDCARE exploring with their creativity and experimenting with their sound further, especially as Busy Busy People feels very much like a record that the band have thrown themselves into when creating it. Indeed, in the same way listeners are invited to immerse themselves fully into this record to fully appreciate it in all its glory.