The album starts with the slow tempo ‘Call Me Up’, introducing elegantly the trademark groove and The Child Of Lov’s impressively sleek falsetto delivery and by the time you’re eased into his vocals he raises the pace with the urgent and spiky ‘Heal’. Damon Albarn lends his voice, and some sombre keyboard tones, on third track ‘One Day’, leaving the sense of a funkier The Good, The Bad And The Queen. It finds its highest gear with aplomb for fifth and sixth tracks ‘Give Me’ and ‘Go With The Wind’, the former an experimental dance-funk extravaganza propelled by a jittery riff and intriguing percussion building to an anthemic chorus, the latter starting with casual beeps and tones before spiralling into an inescapable howl of “Go with the wind, go with the wind, with the wind, go.” That track proves to be the most satisfying execution of the bizarre cocktail at the heart of The Child Of Lov, the unique mix of lo-fi, almost post-punk guitars, bubbling synthesisers and throwback funk vocals. After that it’s up to unexpected guest, rapper DOOM, to throw the biggest curveball here, lending his trademark flow to the hypnotic Arabic stylings of some intricate guitar playing. The only fair criticism of the album is that from this point the record assumes a certain complacency, swaggering until the eighth track it leaves the final three in more of a disinterested stroll.
Still, if that’s the biggest complaint you can have, then your praise must be effusive. Somehow The Child Of Lov has crafted an album from disparate parts into the same satisfyingly disruptive shock of Ghostpoet, Battles or TV On The Radio. It’s at once timeless, decidedly retro yet oddly futuristic, a true album of contradictions enjoyable on a completely shallow level of catchy songs and memorable riffs but offering depth often lacking in a debut. Perhaps it suffers from lapses of concentration or sometimes pushes slightly too far down a dead-end, but clearly with the influences and ambitions The Child Of Lov is juggling it’s easy to allow him some sympathy. As an introduction to the man and a myth he’s already constructing it’s a very enticing and exciting one, if there’s more to come at this level from him true classics await.
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