If you look beyond the One Direction and Coldplay rubric, it has been a stellar year for the UK music scene. Earlier this year, Temples, Eagulls, and Young Fathers released stellar debut LPs that are three of the finest of the year. This week, with the release of their own debut LP, Childhood is seeking to join this exclusive group. And like these bands, Childhood‘s Lacuna looks back in time to find its inspiration. Whether it’s ’80s and ’90s pop, ’60s psychedelic, or contemporary dream-pop, Lacuna hits all the right notes and the end result is a terrific album.
From the album’s opener, the jangle pop “Blue Velvet”, to the closer, the space rock “When You Will Rise”, the album picks up pace from start to end and covers the landscape of music in between the bookends. From the beauty of the opening track to “You Could Be Different” and “As I Am”, the album starts with glittering guitar pop that ebbs and flows. Using the right amount of reverb and the stunning voice of frontman Ben Romans-Hopcraft, the three tracks are cohensive and harmonies, and they offer great starts to the album.
On “Right Beneath Me”, Romans-Hopcraft channels Terence Trent D’Arby (now referred to as Sananda Francesco Maitreya). It is a track that will transport you back to the ’80s and ’90s, the height of dreamy R&B music. The song is followed by “Falls Away”, the star of the album with its captivating and suspenseful melodies and Romans-Hopcraft’s falsetto. It’s Lenny Kravitz at his peak in the ’90s. “Tides” takes a similar approach, adopting, however, a slower, more subdue tone. Sandwiched between “Falls Away” and “Tides” is the early 90s pop-rock tune, “Sweeter Preacher”, which perfectly complements the tracks with its quicker tempo and intensity.
The latter half of the album is quicker, has more touches of psychedelia, and taken together creates a dance-vibe. “Solemn Skies” is drenched in reverb, from Leo Dobsen’s hallowing guitars to Romans-Hopcraft’s voice. It’s anthemic and epic. Think Wooden Shjips but with clearer vocals. “Pay for Cool” is a driving, echoing pop-rock tune. It’ll make a great workout track. “When You Will Rise” is a great closer. It touches on pop and psychedelia, it’s filled with reverb, Romans-Hopcraft’s hits different registers, and the song builds slowly before finishing with a flurry. It basically summarizes the whole album in just under five minutes.
Lacuna is, in short, a terrific, cool album. It is best appreciated listening to it in one sitting instead of in pieces to truly appreciate the range on the album. And with this album, Members Ben Romans Hopcraft, Leo Dobsen, Daniel Salamons, and Jonny Williams have put them right alongside Temples, Eagulls, and Young Fathers.
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