Charity Swales

LIVERPOOL MUSIC WEEK: Childhood @ The Magnet

I’ve followed Childhood ever since they released their shoegaze injected first single Blue Velvet back in 2013 and since then their sound has made a big reinvention entering the realms of funk and soul in their second album Universal High, becoming more akin to The Isley Brothers than The Cocteau Twins.

On Thursday night the band were kitted out with everything from a saxophone player, to a soulful backing singer to headline Liverpool Music Week’s Thursay night gig at The Magnet. This new aesthetic and progressive sound change, has drawn a varied crowd tonight at the underground hollow of The Magnet.

The band climb on the stage, swirling into the ethereally funky A.M.D from their latest album. Lead singer Ben Roman- Hopkins gruff falsetto vocals on the chorus are compelling and entrancing, lifting you into a state of ecstatic. The playing is tight and the jangly guitars are liberating, as they groove through songs such as personal highlight Too Old for My Tears, Californian Light and Cameo.

Their most successful track to date, the laconically dreamy Blue Velvet was sandwiched within the set, which seems odd as it would be expected to be perhaps the final track being arguably their most well known, as the lyrics are sung back by the younger members of the crowd with reverence. However, with a band who’s sound has shifted so substantially, perhaps the set should have been more focused on the band’s new material.

Lead singer Ben Roman-Hopkins seemed effectively dissociated the entire show, unable to remember seemingly where he was, at one point as he utters “Thank you London” despite the gig being in the basement of Liverpool’s The Magnet. However, all is redeemed as his soulful vocals get the place moving, they’re compelling when intertwined with the profound tones of the backing singer, who get’s a shout out from the band.

Childhood are humbled, thanking the crowd constantly and professing how they are surprised to have a big crowd, which to everyone else in the room is no big surprise. As someone exhumes a ‘woop’,  frontman Ben expresses  “At least one person bought our album, obviously they couldn’t be here tonight though”.

Finishing with the punchy Nothing Ever Seems Right, despite a technical difficulty mid-set, the night has sure to have won the Nottingham band new fans, who have become entranced with the psychedelic funk sound they produces.

Check out ‘Universal High’ on Spotify here.

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