BEST OF 2015: 30. Euros Childs – Sweetheart

I realised this year that I’ve been taking Euros Childs for granted. One of the magical voices from Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, he’s been turning out beautiful solo albums for some time now. Each new release of his is an automatic purchase for me and there they all are on the shelf, but when it comes to these lists I’ve tended to overlook him. I’m not sure why, especially when I look back and see a few of the things I have included in the past. I remember a joyous in-store he did for Rise in Bristol a few summers back and how it clarified for me that his voice is amongst my favourites.

Euros

As ever, ‘Sweetheart’ is indebted to vintage rock and pop, Sixties guitar bands and Seventies singer/songwriters obvious and welcome influences. The title offers a clue as to the subject matter on what is an incredibly tender and open collection of songs. ‘Horse And Cart’ slowly blooms out of a forlorn lyric about heartache while ‘Machine’ is all about its magnificent flute part, trilling to a glorious crescendo. Elsewhere, the mid-paced adult lullabies that Gorky’s perfected are resent, ‘Julia Sky’ perhaps the finest. “I wrote this song with a worried mind” he sings and the vocal performance ensures you really believe him.

Playing In The Sun’ sounds like one of those Beatles songs where they’re gleefully bashing out a joyous melody while Ringo goes all meat and potatoes on the drums. It’s simple but very effective. ‘Christmas In Love’ manages to sound neither like a love song nor a Christmas song, lumbering along forlornly with a little chiming guitar all the festivity you’re going to get.

Fruit And Veg’ is an awful lot better than its title suggests, detailing unrequited love across a bluesy chug. ‘Love Is A Memory‘ is oddly evocative of early solo McCartney, simple but affecting, the rhythm section progressing like contrails across a later summer sky. Stately instrumental ‘To The Surface‘ expands on this palette, offering a moment of contemplation ahead of the album’s sizeable finale.

Childs’ eleventh solo record is one of his finest, possessed of an atmospheric poise that is gently hypnotic. ‘Lady Caroline‘ draws things to a close over six minutes of slowly building balladry. The album’s core ingredients combine as soaring harmonies and the mantra-like chorus swirl. Euphoric bursts of backing vocals provide a finishing touch in the latter stages, ensuring that as ‘Sweetheart‘ ends a strange contentment hangs in the air, along with an easily satisfied itch to hear the whole thing again.

In short, I may have overlooked Euros Childs’ work rather carelessly in the past, but when the songs are this good one can only stop and marvel. Writing about love can seem rather tired, and tiring, fifty odds years into what we call popular music, but there is a bewitching humanity across these eleven tracks that is irresistible.

***

As always, click the album cover to listen to the album. Euros is offering a free download via the link, but I heartily encourage you to pick up the marvellous vinyl pressing. 

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