Review Summary: A mysterious aura, combined with a voice that defies belief ensures that this electro-funk debut is a warped gem.
Retaining an aura of mystery before an album release must be the brightest idea any marketing department has created. Taking the Daft Punk route of teasers, teasers and well, more teasers before the release of Random Access Memories, the Child of LOV aka. Cole Williams had never preformed live or appeared publically under his musical persona until he collected an NME radar music award in March 2013, before announcing that Blur’s very own Damon Albarn would guesting on his album, along with confirmation of a string of live dates at no other than Glastonbury and Benacassim. If the people in the know thought so highly of 'the Child' before even a note of his music was played live, how bloody good was this guy?
In Heal, the first tease of the Child’s music, Williams warbles like Cee-lo Green on acid, his voice layered with treacle thick harmonies and stabbing synths; it’s a delicious mix, addictive and incredible that a sound so busy can be dictate itself so clearly. A unique sound made only more fascinating by the fact that this is a white Dutch guy, who’s voice and stlye belies that of his cultural background. The albums opening track, Call Me Up, smolders in a sultry Amsterdam come Deep South atmosphere, wrapping the listener in a toxic blanket of layered falsettos and chilled rhythmical piano playing. One Day, featuring Damon Albarn, attempts to repeat this sultry melancholy but fails to succeed, its vocals awkwardly plodding along to its close, only saved momentarily by Williams emotional lyrics “Hold me until to the morning/ one day I gotta die/ gotta lay down”.
If there is one thing the Child of LOV does well it is delivering a song with a Prince like raunchy urgency. Living the Circle’s simple hook, “Everybody knows it” belies the busy electro funk that surrounds it, a feel repeated in the raspy Go With the Wind, which is straight out of the OutKast guide book to creating a single. Warrior once again sees him channeling Prince; a whining synth line sinks beneath the uplifiting falsetto lyrics, “I am a mountaintop/ I am a child of love/ Look in the mirror, I am warrior.
Though Williams pulls of the great majority of his debut album with aplomb, there is only so much foggy synths and layered vocals that can be appreciated fully, meaning the slightly poorer tracks such as Owl and Give it to the People suffer, dampening the albums of overall consistency and appeal.
The Child of LOV is a bizarre proposition; facing us is an artist who is the antithesis of his surroundings. What is produced is a meaningful and distinctive sound that despite its obvious flaws remains an endearing and enthralling experience. He may have done things his own way, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Call me Up
Living the Circle