Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Childhood – Oslo, London – 13/08/14

18 August 2014, 12:56 | Written by Amy Rose O'Hanlon

It’s 2014, Slowdive have returned, and it seems everyone’s staring at their 90s throwback footwear. Two decades after The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine hooked up some phasers, looked at their feet and defined a genre, a new generation of bands are pedalling a similar strain of lo-fi guitar pop. On the back of their debut album Lacuna, Childhood drenched London’s Oslo in giddy melodies, and proved they’re breaking in new shoes, not filling old ones.

”When you see us live, we tend to go off on one”, professed Childhood’s frontman Ben Romans-Hopcroft in a recent interview. Two jangly riffs and a wah-wah hook into set opener “Blue Velvet”, and it was clear why. The four-piece’s kaleidoscope music is less ‘wall’ of sound than ‘whirling haze’. Two guitars and a bass, backed by drums, create a lush, at times shadowy ambience, fuzzy and lethargic without the droning often associated with gauzy distortion. Nowhere this side of narcotics is reverb woozier, nor feedback more dreamy.

There were seven effects pedals and six foot switches on Romans-Hopcroft’s pedal board, and he spent the gig toe-tapping between them like an Irish dancer lost in a hokey cokey circle. The setlist included many album highlights as well as two older tracks, the psychedelic “Pinballs” and motorik “Bond Girls”. The ethereal falsetto motif of “Falls Away” offset the rockier dissonance of “Sweeter Preacher”, and the murmured vocals, echoing ‘oohs’ and far-off sleigh bell tambourine on latest single “As I Am” spun the night into lustrous hedonism.

The set came to a blissed-out end with “Solemn Skies”, a ballad of breezy otherworldliness, mapped with sweeping flanger and climbing to a cascading stereo chorus summit: “Solemn skies, I want to see you cry”. The band delivered a dizzying show, a rapturous night befitting of their debut record. Their music may ring of shoegaze, but Childhood are certainly setting their gazes somewhere higher.

Blue Velvet
You Could Be Different
Falls Away
Pay For Cool
Right Beneath Me
Sweeter Preacher
As I Am
Bond Girls
When You Rise
Solemn Skies

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