Mojo (UK)

Childhood

Universal High MARATHON ARTISTS. CD/DL/LP

- Andrew Perry

South London alt-rockers’ soulful second-LP evolution. On 2014’s Lacuna, Childhood were vaguely dubby indie rock soundscape­rs, often oblique, but full of promise. Here, that potential is fully converted, via a reposition­ing comparable with Paul Weller’s from The Jam’s gritty, intense last gasp to The Style Council’s freshly chilled, uncluttere­d grooves. There’s a lazy-hazy À Paris EP vibe about tunes like Cameo, Understand­ing and upfront single California­n Light, all doubtless sourced from beloved Chicago soul icons like Curtis Mayfield and The Chi-Lites. Star-inwaiting frontman Ben Romans-Hopcraft makes all the requisite leaps into dreamy falsetto, and in his less opaque lyrics mines the pain of a malfunctio­ning relationsh­ip, as well as wistful rumination­s on growing up. There are a couple of cracking upbeat dancers aboard too (Don’t Have Me Back; Too Old For My Tears), plus some endearing quirks (retro-cheesy synths, restless song structures). All told: a summer soul smash.

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