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O.Children O.Children
Released 11 July 2010

Tobi O'Kandi, Barny, James Rutledge, Jas Shaw
Label Deadly People
Length 48:22
Genre Alternative
Website ochildren.co.uk

O.Children began life by calling themselves Bono Must Die. Some will warm to them based on this information alone. And the fact that they dropped this in favour of naming themselves after a Bad Seeds song will play to a certain contingent within that approving group. The adopting of O.Children as a band name is not the only influence Old Nick has had on the band. Singer Tobi O’Kandi sounds like Nick Cave, albeit a Nick Cave given to impersonating Ian Curtis and Johnny Cash at the same time. Again, this will get the green light from a large number of people.

The music that accompanies this grim and quavering drawl introduces itself on opening track 'Malo' as pompous as Ultravox, strutting along in the spirit of Gary Numan or Depeche Mode circa Black Celebration. 'Dead Disco Dancer', the second track and their debut single, offers up more of the same, but this time tempered with a morbid Cavian wit, before 'Heels' conjures up Joy Division’s 'Atmosphere'. The obvious referencing employed by the band ('Fault Line' recalls The Cure, 'Radio Waves' recalls Bauhaus) would be distracting –reducing the album to a game of ‘Guess Who?’– were it not of such good quality. This is not so much mimicry, as inheritance. Songs such as 'Smile' and 'Ruins' have the Goth dial turned all the way up to eleven; but rather than sounding like reheated leftovers, such orthodoxy is actually heart-warming. Bela Lugosi is not quite dead, it would seem.

It’s also an orthodoxy that ensures that O.Children emerge with a pre-prepared fan base. Fans of The Pixies will hear 'Gouge Away' at the start of 'Pray The Soul Away'. Likewise fan’s of Nirvana’s 'Lithium'. Even the abstract mechanical noise that introduces closer 'Don’t Dig' feels aimed at fans of Nine Inch Nails or Einstürzende Neubauten. All of this might not sound like much of a laugh, but it is. Even if it isn’t your thing, it’s hard not to like. O.Children draw on a rich seam of Goth rock and similar species; but who cares? It’s a strong pop-cultural heritage they have aligned with. This is an excellent debut, and it’s being released into a world where this kind of music has been tried, tested, and has been proven successful.

If you want to be part of a scene, this is the way to do it.

- Paul McGranaghan