Music

Child Bite: The Living Breathing Organ Summer

Scott Branson

Child Bite plays punk-inspired rock that avoids the current penchant for garage clichés, but is this music really fresh, or just a derivative in a different genre than the dominant one?


Child Bite

The Living Breathing Organ Summer

Label: Joyful Noise
US Release Date: 2010-06-15
UK Release Date: 2010-07-27
Label website
Amazon
iTunes

Child Bite does something different; it sounds like other bands, but not every other band. This is a fine distinction. Child Bite's sound is composed of a different set of references than the ones typically in play right now. There's no folk, no beach dreaminess, no symphonic pop, nothing electronic or synthesized. Right off the bat, this difference makes it sound fresher.

Child Bite plays layered music that is somehow still relatively simple. The album opener "Manacles", one of the most successful tracks, begins with a smooth groove that gets nicely and jarringly interrupted by a punk surf guitar line à la Easy Bay Ray. This kind of change-up in song direction is one thing that makes the band so interesting. The most apt description of the overall sound is that of a circus, and not simply because of the prominent organ pumping in every song. Is this the organ the album title speaks about? Or is it a reference to singer Shawn Knight's mouth which yells atop the crazy party sounds of the rest of the band? The band's noise sounds like the felicitous congregation of an unruly group of musicians who are actually having fun doing what they do, but the layered instrumentation ultimately gets flattened out by the vocals, which are basically an atonal harangue that almost doesn't stop from track one to track thirteen. There's a breather for the instrumental, almost eponymous, "Organ Summer", but the vocals get boring. Knight has a bit of David Thomas in him, but whatever wit he possesses gets drowned out in his growl. It doesn't help that the lyrics printed in the album sleeve are basically illegible.

While the songs have definite structure, the instruments, guitars, organ, and even saxophone, find ways to nicely accent different parts at different times. That gives the songs a sense of discovery in necessary moments of change. On the album highlight, "Paws Perilous", which features the most melodic vocals of all the songs, a nice guitar line comes in to finish the melody perfectly. These touches make each song intriguing, even if they become repetitive. Still, the catchy chorus of "Paws Perilous" is the exception in terms of melody, and this exception comes from the addition of the background vocals, not necessarily from Knight's own living, breathing organ.

It’s nice to hear a band that has spent a lot of time listening to Pere Ubu. But Child Bite can’t pull off the avant part of avant-punk. In the end, the sheen wears off. Child Bite would have been a fitting band on a lineup for one of the early Lollapaloozas because the band has an exciting edge that has been largely absent in pop rock since Nirvana. However, by the end of the album every song sounds the same, using the same formula, and the edge rounds off into one or two standout songs.

6

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image