Review Summary: English newcomers O. Children want you to remember Goth rock
O. Children wants everyone to remember a time when The Cure and Joy Division ruled the land. A time when Goth rock was so good it made kids brood like nobody’s business. A time before all the hipsters became less depressed and more ironic and douchey. A time when atmospherics and the art of the brood were at an all-time high. A time called 1981
Pretty much all of their debut would fit in 1981 if it wasn’t for the amazing production. The haunted guitars always seemingly in the background, the synths adding atmosphere at every turn, and the brooding, over-the-top vocalist all scream 80s. About the vocalist: he has the most theatrical baritone heard in years. At times you think he is Peter Steele of Type O Negative, and other times you think he is The Count from Sesame Street or the “Chocolate Rain” guy. It is really hard to take him seriously sometimes, but overall his voice fits the mood of the music.
It is very clear who their influences are, as O. Children are equal parts Joy Division, The Smiths, and The Cure. This turns out to be less than bad purely for the fact that the songwriting here is fantastic. Songs like “Ruin” and “Dead Disco Dancer” show their flair for the dramatic with a huge amount of synths and theatrical lyrics. There are honestly few points throughout the album that are bad, most notably the beginning to “Radio Waves,” with terrible lyrics and a riff ripped off of a weak Interpol album, but even that song has song strong points to it. The best song on the album is definitely “Smile,” a quieter tune that show a band firing on all cylinders with a wonderfully written song.
O. Children’s debut shows a band with a clear love of early 80’s Goth rock and a flair for the dramatic and over-the-top. At points they seem a bit derivative, and you can’t ever tell if they are being completely serious or not, but everything comes together for a very enjoyable listening experience. They have clear songwriting skills and a great combination of skills. Plus, there are English, and everyone knows all the great brooders are English.