Euros Childs

Situation Comedy

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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. Sometimes Childs hides just how twisted the stories he's telling are with those bouncy tunes: opening track "Tête à Tête" masks an alcoholic's desperation for intimacy with a melody that borders on goofy, while the lovely "Tina Said" disguises its quiet despair with cheery flutes. Elsewhere, he puts the weirdness front and center: Childs adopts a dirty old man voice for "Brides in the Bath," which sings the praises of serial killer George Joseph Smith, and chooses syrupy country to soundtrack his tale of an overly devoted father on "Daddy's Girl." Conceptual gambits aside, Situation Comedy delivers some of the most cleverly crafted songs of Childs' solo career. "Ooh La Oona" is darkly catchy pop on par with his Gorky's days, and its tale of misplaced affections ranks among the Who's "Pictures of Lily" and the Police's "Roxanne." "Holiday from Myself" is charmingly meta, while "Avon Lady" might be the best-constructed story here, with its creepily decaying coda echoing the futility of fighting age. The album closes with "Trick of the Mind," a transporting 15-minute suite that sounds like it's from another album entirely (and also proves that Childs' psychedelic side is never far away). It doesn't really fit with the rest of the album, but it's another reminder that releasing music on his own label allows Childs to indulge the deepest quirks of his talent. Despite this somewhat disjointed feel, Situation Comedy should still please most of his fans, whether or not they've kept up with his busy release schedule.

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