Release Date: Oct 21, 2013
Record label: National Elf
Since the demise of the much-missed Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci in 2006, frontman Euros Childs has released a dizzying array of solo records. His ninth leaves behind the wearing synth experiments and lo-fi oddities of recent years for a set of witty piano-pop songs. However, its character studies have a grim undertone – ‘Second Home Blues’ looks at how empty holiday cottages have damaged the Welsh countryside, and ‘Holiday From Myself’ is a portrait of a disaffected songwriter tired of being played “on a shuffle that never ends”.
There’s a moment on Situation Comedy when, during Holiday From Myself, Euros Childs recounts with a sad air of resignation how “I’ve been singing the same old shit since 1994”. It’s a harsh, self-deprecating assessment, yet it’s also a striking lyric that confirms how Childs has been releasing his unique, wonderfully melodic music for over 20 years. Initially it seems an impossible statistic – Childs is only 38 years old – before you remember that the first Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci tapes were recorded whilst the band members were still at school.
After launching his own National Elf label with 2009's Son of Euro Child, Euros Childs embarked on a prolific burst of creativity that found him releasing several albums a year and stretching the limits of his music. He dabbled in Krautrock on 2010's Face Dripping and solo piano excursions on the following year's Ends, but by 2012's Summer Special, he'd returned to the whimsical pop of his Gorky's Zygotic Mynci days. Situation Comedy follows in that album's footsteps, but with a darker twist: Childs sets stories about rich people problems ("Second Home Blues") and a woman whose husband turns to cheese ("Give the Girl a Hand/The Peanut Vendor") to the kind of deceptively jaunty melodies he's written for decades.
Second homes in the country, cybersex, serial killers, marital strife and the A-roads of provincial Britain – it might sound like the concerns of the average Daily Mail reader, but it is in fact the contents of the latest LP from Euros Childs. Situation Comedy is the ninth solo album from the former Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci leader, alongside his work in side projects such as the well-received Jonny, a frightening return over the same number of years. Far from showing a man running low on ideas, Situation Comedy instead finds Childs taking on the perspective of a series of characters through his songs in order to explore new ground, dissecting a particular type of Britain over the course of 11 deceptively jaunty tracks.
Since Euros Childs began his own label, National Elf, in 2009, he has released a new album each year as dependably as crocuses grow in spring. His sound is pretty reliable, too: delicate, wistfully melodic folk bent into wayward shapes by an impish personality. That devilry is rampant in much of Situation Comedy: the music shifts from gallomphing, Chas & Dave-style piano stomps to slurry cod-country via soul as gloopy as a lava lamp, and even Childs' delicate vocal mutates, becoming stuttery and robotic in Good Time Baby, leery in the end-of-the-pier nightmare of Brides in the Bath.
Situation Comedy is another sweetly melodic solo offering from the ex-Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci leader Euros Childs, a record predominately comprised of arcadian psychedelia and lyrical surrealism. Recorded alongside a four piece band, the influence of Syd Barrett and Ray Davies hangs most heavily, although fans of more contemporary psych-pop acts such as Grizzly Bear may well find plenty to enjoy here. Childs isn’t yet forty years of age, but he is a bona fine industry veteran.