Childhood: The Best Time Of All Our Lives

Childhood, eh? Best time of your life. Not mine, but specifically yours.

Annoying when people say that, isn’t it. I mean, yes, childhood is generally a blast for everyone – but in this age of enforced, conspicuous nostalgia, it’s tempting to tell everyone that your youthful years were spent locked in a coal shed with only crude figurines crafted from your own filth to keep you company.

Childhood (the band), are similarly ambiguous as to whether they are fun or not. Sure, their music is a minor delight, but I couldn’t tell you definitively whether its makers were sporting wide grins or not whilst creating it.

Childhood // Paper Wave

Paper Wave is the sort of song that has already been identified as some sort of quasi-ironic “[insert genre]-wave”, probably by that mysterious panel of online taste-makers that I often read about but evidence of whom I have never actually seen.

It has the silky feel of a warm Mediterranean evening breeze – comforting, gentle and with the sense that it could transform into something altogether more thunderous at any moment. Except that it never does.

Childhood are aptly named – their songs frame half-buried feelings that never fully materialise, and are all the more beguiling for it. Great.


>Today’s New Band – Special Benny

A bands’ sound matters. Well, it doesn’t, of course – this is rock and roll, yeah? – but it does. Look: as much as Steve Albini insists he’s a recording engineer, simply allowing a band to sound as they themselves desire, and not acting as their producer, he can’t ignore artists repeatedly choosing him in the hope a bit of that wonderful Albini sound – and there is one – rubs off onto their work too.

Bands always want to sound like themselves, but can’t help being swayed by the golden idea of having their hi-hats sound a bit like the ones on In Utero too.

Today’s New Band probably admire Albini as much as any other indie band, but don’t have too many sonic associations with Big Black. They sound slick – a word hung heavy with terrible Kenny G associations – but slick they are. I hope Special Benny aren’t offended by that description. By slick, I mean ‘competent, confident and crystallised’, which perhaps would have been a better starting point.

As it begins, Air Filter is rich and delicious and swirling, like Italian ice cream, so when it splits unexpectedly into a sax break (oh yes!), it’s a huge drum-battering shock. Drums and Phase, indulgent, peculiar and smooth, ought to be unlovable, but will win you over by sheer force of charm.

Like Hunger, it’s dinner party music in it’s most palatable, endearing form, chirpy, alive and fun – which so little ‘serious’ music is. The arrangement almost dips into Shoegaze territory, swooping and lush. “If you’re hungry you can feed on my flesh” is the only, poignant, strange lyric.

Special Benny deserve attention because of their obtuse positioning in the indie rock world. Their songs won’t – can’t – please everyone, but they’re hard to hate; and so are interesting: another word loaded with cruel complication but not a word that could be used with regards to many bands. Listen and judge.

>Today’s New Band – The Woo!Worths

>Art Brut have an ace new album out, Art Brut vs Satan. Making a connection between this and Friday’s new band would probably have been the smart thing to do, but then careful analysis of the facts has never been part of ANBAD’s ethos.

Art Brut‘s singer, Eddie Argos, has long been wide-eyed and fascinated with rock music’s bedroom/DIY underbelly. ” Why is everyone trying to sound like U2?” he asks. Slap dash for no cash/Those are the records I like/When something doesn’t sound quite right.”

It’s difficult to disagree with his logic. I’d prefer to live in a world of crackling songs made in a garden shed then listen to another super-slick Keane dirge too.

Today’s New Band don’t sound super-lo-fi, but they are in spirit, and that’s what counts. The Woo!Worths aren’t all sheen and no grit, but they manage to dip into Brian Eno’s Big Box of Smooth Smooth Sounds and pull out the interesting bits for their own use.

So from a lo-fi point of view, Konichiwa is a rock homebrew of tight 80’s sounds – synths, bright jangling guitars and vocoders. And it works, despite itself, lovable and knowing enough to pinch your attention.

Songs like Idle Hands that squelch and shimmer like a Pet Shop Boys remix, and Bug House Loco is the most fun I’ve had with my trousers on for ages. Depressingly, it’s also the most fun I’ve had with my trousers off too.

When I was at University, I worked at a Woolworth’s shop for about three months. It wasn’t the most pleasant experience; by which I mean it was mind-sappingly dreadful, and my will to live vanished the moment I stepped through the door. The Woo!Worths are what you’d assume working in a shop full of sweets, CDs and toys would be like – a load of carefree fun. And now they’ll never know the truth. Listen here!