Euros Childs


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The first of what became a veritable flood of releases by the former Gorky's Zygotic Mynci leader, Chops at the time of its 2006 release was the first full-length from Euros Childs either in or out of a band in some years, almost as if he'd just been waiting to go nuts in the studio again. A short, rough-but-sweet collection of 14 songs, Chops functions as an extension of the Gorky's aesthetic more than a full break from the past, though in ways it's very much a return to the quirkily frenetic spirit of that group's earlier days more than the calmer seas of the later times. The appearance of former bandmates like his sister Megan and guitarist John Lawrence -- as well as eternal producer-genius Gorwel Owen behind the boards once again -- gives Childs' skew-whiff playfulness a full chance to shine with the help of sympathetic performers. Thus the squelchy keyboard and pedal steel and rough beats and jaunty singalong bounce of "Donkey Island" sets the tone almost right off the bat, and from there Childs and company tackle everything from the appropriately twang-tinged "My County Girl" to the high-spirited "Hi Mewn Socasau," one of several Welsh language cuts. His distinct voice, gentle keening with a high, unsettled edge, remains as strong as ever. Meantime the feeling throughout much of Chops is of a casual get-together in a party atmosphere, with handclaps and singalong choruses (most often overdubbed by Childs himself) making this almost something close to The Beach Boys' Party!, with a divide of a few decades. Audible tape hiss and stop-start sounds provide defining characteristics for a number of the shorter numbers like "Slip Slip Way," a further bit of lo-fi edge, while the calmer songs such as the lovely "Costa Rita," all soft piano and rhythm box pulse, and "First Time I Saw You" -- at eight minutes longer than a number of the songs put together -- further contribute to Chops' kaleidoscopic feeling.

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