In the instance of music criticism, it’s always best to never trust your
initial impressions: while some of the greatest albums ever recorded
don’t sound particularly
good on first listen, others with immediate appeal often reveal themselves to be hollow at the core.
Childhood’s debut album pertains to the former: on first inspection, ‘Lacuna’ sounds like a paradigm of every indie record this side of the 21st century; opener
‘Blue Velvet’ is musical bait for every journalistic cliché that the term ‘indie’ has appropriated – lo-fi,
jangly, blissed-out – and with that it becomes a direct counterpart to Real Estate’s ‘Days’, an album that,Lacuna
for all its merits, suffers from a languid aesthetic that has seen countless imitations.
On closer inspection, however, this debut album has a hidden depth that is manifested within its genre defiance.
From the tightly packaged pop of ‘Solemn Skies’ to the electronic
experimentation of ‘Tides’, an affinity for the ’80s
and ’90s is distinct, but it hints at more varied influences, and it’s this aptitude for melody and nuance that prevails.
Nowadays the psych-rock eight-piece are a welloiled machine, effortlessly navigating between new favourites
(‘Vad Hände Med Dem?’) and old anthems (‘Not If You Were the Last Dandy on Earth’)
with nary a hint of discord. There are shades of the band’s uproarious past
on display – Newcombe is properly
furious when some aerial detritus finds its way to the stage – but tonight’s set is otherwise about as grown-up as the audience.
It is both heartening and discomfiting to see Anton Newcombe and his band
turn in such a consummately professional performance.
It feels churlish not to afford Newcombe this valedictory tour of his back catalogue, after what has been an unbelievably tumultuous three decades,
yet anybody expecting the chaotic maelstrom evidenced on 2004’s
warts-and-all documentary ‘Dig!’ is in for a disappointment.
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