As lead singer of now defunct Welsh indie band Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, Euros Childs must have been used to the phrase “critically acclaimed” and the word “cult”. Such catch-all labels usually mean that said band are loved by music journalists of a certain age and not necessarily by the mass market, the critical fawning rarely matched by anything as palpable as record sales or money in the bank.
It seems Childs has given up hope of ever making money out of his recorded output as this, his fifth solo album, is free to download from his website. All you need do is give up your email address.
Such generosity can sometimes mean a dearth of quality or reflect a sudden change in direction that the creator feels almost sheepish about charging for. Luckily, Son of Euro Child is no massive departure from Childs’ wilfully idiosyncratic take on twee pop, and a number of its songs find him at the top of his game.
One noticeable embellishment comes with the amount of keyboard sounds Childs uses to harness his staple sound of delicate backing vocals and lush harmonies. The gorgeous Gently All Around features a sustained keyboard note throughout, forming the backbone for a simple melody that slowly builds towards a typically lovely resolution.
The Dog is an unsettling four minutes of distorted keyboard beneath another sweetly crooned vocal, whilst How Do You Do? bounces along around a fuzzed up riff played on what sounds like a Tomy First Keyboard. It also features a typically off the wall lyric about a pet monkey doing his business in a friend’s shoe that is both funny and touching.
This ability to create humour in the unlikeliest settings has become a bit of a staple for Childs, whose skewed social commentary and observations make him a more surreal Jarvis Cocker. Like This? Then Try This paints a picture of suburban living and of forming new relationships. Towards the end of the song Childs begins a call and response section that features the following; “Do you like leather? I like leather. Do you like phones? La, la, la leather phones”. It’s a typically odd moment, only exaggerated by a strange, descending keyboard riff that makes you laugh and worry for its creator’s sanity.
It’s not all abstract and detached. There are still moments of beauty amongst the decaying keyboard sounds; 1000 Pictures Of You is a lovely, piano-led lament with layers of harmonies, whilst The Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke is a near perfect instrumental that hypnotises over its five minute duration.
Son of Euro Child is a brilliant hotchpotch of ideas that can, at times, end up sounding like a glorious mess. It’s also a couple of songs too long, Childs indulging himself with minute long instrumentals. But since when was too much ambition and too many ideas a negative thing? And nust we remind you, Son Of Euro Child is available for free (here). So what’s stopping you?