Childhood @ Broadcast, Glasgow, 21 Nov
Childhood bring their blissful, overblown and soulful pop to Broadcast, with fellow London newcomers Sorry in tow for an exciting double bill
Childhood and Sorry make for excellent touring partners, and not just because they both have great names you can’t believe weren’t already taken. The London-based groups have been two of the brightest newcomers on the gig circuit over the past few years, and they both feel suited to intimate basement set-ups, despite their musical differences (of which there are many).
Sorry make coiling post-punk that finds its power in rough, uncomfortable edges. Asha Lorenz sings with a tense, throaty vocal that matches her guitar lines with their piercing quality. Dusty drum machines rattle behind her on record, voices pitch-shifted and twisted into obscurity. Live, the heady mix of anger and vulnerability is even more tangible.
Drag King is a clear highlight. Despite the skeletal instrumentation, each element is brash and overwhelming when fused together. Lorenz and guitarist Louis O’Bryen both circle each other with sinister, deflated vocal lines. 'I wish I was a boy so I could dress up in drag / I know that’s a weird dream to have' they sing, with a bubbling anxiousness that feels part PJ Harvey, part King Krule. Set closer Wished masters this tension, building with an ascending riff that threatens to collapse. The synthetic drums kick up into a double-time in the periphery, like a shadow looming over the rest of the band. It’s a stark climax.
Childhood are the opposite of stark. Their set is blissful and overblown, taking soulful pop and cracking the exposure all the way up. With a full team of bandmates on this tiny basement stage – all seemingly representing a different era of funk fashion – every detail of the record is amplified. It does the group wonders. A breezy summertime record is made an intense, loving piece of live music. Californian Light erupts into a psychedelic jam. By the time we’re at the chorus, Ben Romans-Hopcraft is wide-eyed, bursting his falsetto to the back of the room.
Where Sorry feel very much part of the South London wave of spooky-newcomers-whose-music-could-only-exist-on-the-internet (there’s not really a scene tag yet…), Childhood could have stumbled into any decade and resonated. That's in part because their reference points are so sprawling. Across the set there are touches of 60s motown, French house, indie-psych, and plenty in between. The live version of Cameo is an off-kilter slow jam that blossoms with an ease most couldn’t manage. Too Old for My Tears is a classy, old-school stomper that makes its way into your heart with breezy rhythms and dripping sax solos. Melody Says syncs the vocals and lead guitar like a vintage Julian Casablancas cut that's been smoothed out into a daydream.
Both bands leave dripping in sweat, clearly exhausted. One made despondency exciting; the other played pop any curmudgeon could get down to.