Neils Children “Change/Return/Success” (Soft City)
Neils Children have been stirring up a contentious London scene with their particular brand of dark punk informed shape-age for 18 months or so now.
Having released two 45s on Soft City Recordings, they have now collated these 4 cuts along with 4 previously unreleased tracks to form “Chage/Return/Success” their debut mini LP.
Track 1 “Come Down”
A-side - debut 45 - A gothic tinged intro leads to an outbreak of riff-age as metallic as it is garage. Vocals are barked in a tone somewhere between John Lydon & Mark Perry by singer & main songwriter, John Linger. It’s good to hear the dulcet tones on inner city London accents all over rock n roll records again. Punctuated by muffled half screams & furious hi-hat abuse, drummer Brandon Jacobs thrashes his toms like a young Rat Scabies.
Track 2 “How Does It Feel Now You’re On Your Own”
B-side - debut 45 Filthy bass courtesy of James Hair brings this cut in on its knees. Again the vocals demand authority snotty, delivered with disdain they hold your attention like the nurse with the glass rod down the Sexually Transmitted Diseases unit. These boys have being listening to PIL, & in particular, the gtr sound of Keith Levene!
Track 3 - “I Hate Models”
A-side sophomore 45 Insistent bass, choppy gtrs warped to treble heaven, more shouting this is fucking excellent. No post punk funk no trappings of ‘trendicity’ gtr effects borrowed from Robert Smith from his days in the Banshees energy vitality. Fuck. This is good.
Track 4 - “Trying To Be Some Else For Free”
B-side sophomore 45 This reminds me of the 1st PIL LP again. The rage is palpable. The gtr sounds like “Religion”. John Linger may not yet know what he wants to be, but he sure as hell knows who he doesn’t want to be.
Track 5 “Getting Evil In The Playground”
Unreleased “They say opposites repel the whole thing is a con”. The rules of attraction are ripped to shreds. Neils Children have so much faith in their sound its addictive. No other group sounds this fractious at the moment. Genuinely pulse quickening.
Track 6 “What Will You Say To Me”
Unreleased Full ahead punker. This is fucking superb. I love the anger. I love the gtrs. I love the riff. I love the drums. It’s so refreshing to hear a young group that actually understand the dynamics of good punk rock n roll. Art & anger walk hand in hand. Attitude rises from their photographs. They even look like they mean it, maaaan.
Track 7 “In The Past”
Unreleased This sounds like The Adverts & there can be no higher recommended from this soldier. Phlanging, phasing the kind of gtr effects I never realised how much I missed. This has so much light & shade it renders 95% of current gtr music obsolete.
Track 8 “See Through Me”
Unreleased Another stormer. This pulsates as it licks its wounds. Treble-y slashes punctuate it throughout. There is a rising sense of tension that Neils Children seem able to build on a whim. I haven’t heard this kind of repressed energy in a British record for many a boring year.
Track 9 Hidden Track/No Title
Unreleased As the time counter for the previous track reaches 7.51 the madness returns to the speakers the hidden track rears its ugly head - &, my God, is it ugly? Backwards vocals & a Hendrix-ian heads down boogie leads to a lull, packed with backwards gtr, interference & the ghost of an E string that whines like a Queen Bee trapped in a jar of napalm to the end.
“Change/Return/Success” is my UK LP of 2204. It may not change your life but it’s certainly brightened up mine.
Jean Encoule tMx 17 10/04