Don’t Kill Uncle, Kill Your Darlings Instead!
Choosing a band name is a big responsibility. Firstly it’s got to be something original yet memorable (you got to give King Gizard & The Lizard Wizard their dues there).
Secondly, it’s a burning question often asked in interviews so having an interesting anecdote to impress upon someone is always a smart move. Thankfully Children of the State know the score; their moniker is derived from both Kim Jong Un’s ‘pet’ name for the citizens of North Korea and the FBI dubbing of the Manson family back in 1960s Hollywood.
Armed with these pearls of wisdom and the fact their debut EP is called ‘Kill Your Darlings’, I obviously wasn’t expecting the sound of bubble-gum pop to fill my ears. In fact I was imagining more along the lines of a dystopian reality, whereby the aforementioned bubble-gum gets stuck in your hair and you have to cut it out with blunt scissors.
Produced by Nathan Saoudi of Fat White Family fame, engineered by Jack Howorth of Mysteron and mastered by Dean Honer of the Moonlandingz, it starts with a 17 second opener ‘Crossroads of Groove’, before going straight into the title track ‘Kill Your Darlings’.
A wistful but gritty electronic, garage-psych trip, the melodic and catchy chord structures and vocal delivery reminded me of The Stone Roses, ‘Garage Flower’ era, albeit in a far dreamier and less scratchier guise. Just as you start to feel a bit light and floaty, the next song ‘Miss America, May I?’ shouts a little ‘Boo!’ at you, bringing you back down to earth. Right from the first beat of the drum, surf rock guitar riff and gnarly vocals, you can hear a rawness whereby you can almost envisage an accompanying video full of cool looking folk, jumping around in the kind of dingy underground club where your feet stick to the floor if you stand still too long (maybe why they are jumping) slo-mo hair & beer flying everywhere.
‘Tomorrow We’ll Drift’ leans more towards a late 60s British psych vibe, with a hypnotic backbeat dominated by drums and bass. The band themselves call it a ‘Folk Waltz’. That’s exactly what it is. It makes you want to move some part of you and whilst thoughts did cross my mind of swirling across the office floor, thankfully for all, I settled for a good old-fashioned foot tap instead. The fifth and final song ‘Afterglow’ is like the musical equivalent of the last Sunday night programme you are allowed to watch before school the next day. It’s beguiling, surreal, almost interplanetary, but there is a definite feeling of impending doom about it, throughout.
As an EP – and lets not forget a debut one at that – it’s a cracker. It’s well constructed without sounding too contrived and the tracks are just in the right order to take you on a little journey, even if it did stir up feelings within me, like I was going to get in trouble from my mum for not doing my homework or polishing my shoes.
‘Kill Your Darlings’ is released on 13th July 2018 and is available from the likes of Spotify, ITunes and Amazon.
Children of the State are a 4 piece peyote punk outfit based in Sheffield, with members from Derbyshire and Doncaster. They will be appearing at Tramlines Crystal Stage, on Friday 20th July.
John McCullagh – Vocals/rhythm guitar
Nathan Keeble – Backing vocals/lead guitar
Conor O’Reilly – Drums
Corey Clifton – Bass guitar
Photo credit: Duncan Stafford