It is unbelievable that in an age where we are hard wired to seek out the undiscovered and elevate the unknown to ubiquitous cool in the blink of an eye that someone as talented as Euros Childs can remain a secret. It seems that we are caught in an epidemic of newness or trapped in a cycle of the ‘cannon of old’, we can only be excited about the entirely fresh-out-of-the-wrapper new band or celebrate the much lauded old or obscure act, both remain on safe territory. To engage with or be impressed by an established acts new work or impressed by their impeccable output seems to be a thing of the past or terribly uncool, imagine liking something by someone people have heard of before? How awful.
When Beck realised the astonishing Modern Guilt it was greeted with all the enthusiasm of your average apathetic teen: ‘oh here’s Beck again’ or with every Super Furry Animals release they seem to slide further into fan-centric obscurity. It begs the question that if you were to put a different name on these albums/acts or invent an outlandish back story would they be listened to/written about with dizzying fervour?
In any right thinking world, Euros Childs would be celebrated, back catalogues written about in minuet detail in Mojo and Uncut but maybe they’ll just wait until he’s expired and do a retrospective love-in like with Nick Drake or Nilsson. Until that day he’ll hopefully plough on creating such thrilling oddities as the new act he’s involved in, Cousins.
Like Jonny, his collaboration with Norman Blake from Teenage Fanclub, Cousins is a group effort which sees Euros sharing vocal duties with Meilyr Jones and features as an accessible bunch of hypnotic would-be hits as any of his previous output.
Although First Cousins is an altogether darker affair, it may still be the pop fist of fun smacking you on the shoulder but this time it’s aiming for the jaw too. The perfectly formed Palpable Depression and its mantra of ‘put the kettle on/wipe your feet/ahhh that’s neat!’ is a true pop dichotomy. A song moored in the crushing fixed routine of the domestic but managing to alleviate any churning sadness with its jaunty spirit and repeated trance-like repetitiveness, it’s so good it should be prescribed.
Child’s gift is his songs deceptive simplicity. They rattle along like folksy nursery rhymes embedding themselves into your brain and your heart before you realise some of their bleak, murky undertones. He manages to lift the mundane, everyday themes into something thoughtful and inspiring like his tribute to bread on the Jonny album or his hymn to boots and the general smug satisfaction of modern living on Look at my Boots.
Here he works his unique magic on such tracks as I’m a Yellow Bag which is sung from the perspective of a plastic bag. With that title and his knack for breezy pop, it should be a fun, charming tribute to our shopping carrying heroes but in fact it’s a disturbingly eerie, off kilter keyboard led lament about environmental destruction and the urban landscape. Its final devastating refrain of ‘I’ll be here when you’ve gone’ is more touching and effective than one of Damon’s Gorillaz environmental lectures ever could be.
First Cousins is full to the brim with the whimsy, inventiveness and touches of darkness we expect from Euros Childs and for those who don’t expect much or have grown weary, think again and discover that familiar, comforting feeling of home, your cousins are waiting.
Download First Cousins here : http://www.euroschilds.com/