There’s a moment on Situation Comedy when, during Holiday From Myself, Euros Childs recounts with a sad air of resignation how “I’ve been singing the same old shit since 1994”. It’s a harsh, self-deprecating assessment, yet it’s also a striking lyric that confirms how Childs has been releasing his unique, wonderfully melodic music for over 20 years. Initially it seems an impossible statistic – Childs is only 38 years old – before you remember that the first Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci tapes were recorded whilst the band members were still at school.
For some, he will always been remembered as the precocious, fresh-faced Gorky’s frontman. But this is his ninth solo album (he’s released at least one a year since 2006) not to mention his involvement in side projects such as Short & Curlies and Jonny with Norman Blake.
Situation Comedy is arguably his most consistent release yet, with an immediacy that others maybe haven’t always collectively projected. The opening half sees him in generally positive mood and confirms his music to be as unwaveringly endearing as ever. It opens with Tête à Tête, which bounces along in amiable, ambling fashion, built upon the kind of brilliant melodic simplicity that has informed his music over the years. The enjoyably silly opening lyric of “I get no kicks from that old drink driving” also sets the bar high early on (something which is maintained throughout).
The breezy, carefree dash of Second Home Blues follows, imbued with spotlit drama whilst Avon Lady and Ooh La Oona showcase his special mastery of melody, proving it to be something he’s always dealt with in the most essential, reduced and purest of forms. The slanted, affected vocal of Brides In The Bath meanwhile is a reminder of his interest in pursuing more unusual musical directions. Piano still forms the basis for most of the tracks here but touches of flute (courtesy of Laura J Martin) and brass (from Sweet Baboo) also embellish the overall sound.
The first signs of wistfulness don’t appear until Holiday From Myself, but are soon backed up on Daddy’s Girl, which sees a return to the faithful country stylings aired on earlier albums. Here, it seems to establish a direct connection with the music of Gram Parsons. Any residual melancholy however is brushed aside by the glam-tinted opening to Good Time Baby (Talk To Me) before the track is turned on its head and fades out introspectively – in a way a sort of one track encapsulation of his musical range and sense of moderate unpredictability. The fleeting sadness found within some of his lyrics may suggest that Childs doesn’t always find the music industry an easy place to be, but when the end results are as likeable and appealing as those found on Situation Comedy, you hope his restless creativity never truly goes away.