Friday, March 03, 2006

I sought a theme...

Euros Childs

Those masterful images because complete
Grew in pure mind but out of what began?
A mound of refuse or the sweepings of a street,
Old kettles, old bottles and a broken can...

"The Circus Animal's Desertion," W. B. Yeats

Circus Time - Euros Childs

Death Of A City - Ken Stringfellow

For many years, Euros Childs was a member of critically acclaimed, somewhat commercially disappointing Welsh band Gorky's Zygotic Mynci. I'm no great authority on GZM, but a friend who is hails them for their "classic eulogization of childhood," which seems to drill straight to the heart of their significant appeal. With the band on hiatus, Childs has--like many members of long-time groups suddenly left to their own devices--released a solo album, Chops (US, UK). "Circus Time" is a somber piano ballad, and despite the musician's recent statement that his solo work isn't meant to be "heavy" or "introspective," the track seems built on a bed of disillusionment. Childs marks his paces from disorientation (Had enough of the city), to temporary refuge in a familiar trope of innocence (Won't you slip with me to circus time?), to a kind of regret and resignation (Oh golden sun, my life had just begun). It's hard to grow older, sad to realize that the usual tricks have lost some of their magic.

One of the things that's intriguing about "Circus Time" is its general sense of drifting--its unspecificity of place. In his piano ballad, "Death Of A City," Ken Stringfellow, former member of another well-loved but generally undersold 90s band, The Posies (as well as stints in REM, Big Star, Minus 5, etc.), also sounds lost but better able to map his disappointment. In a literal sense, "Death Of A City" is an environmentalist screed (Nothing is able to live in this town/So you go out late and look for the stars/All you see is orange on the clouds). But on another level--and with greater theatrics than Childs' song--it taps a personal estrangement, too (the frequent refrain of Oh, you're over and done with now).

"Death" appears on Stringfellow's third solo record, Soft Commands (US, UK).

From Childs' and Stringfellow's latest band efforts:

How I Long - Gorky's Zygotic Mynci

Sweethearts Of Rodeo Drive - The Posies

Ken Stringfellow


Blogger Lizzy said...

awesome, i dig that ken stringfellow song.

4:06 PM  
Blogger -tr0y- said...

I love Stringfellow's solo records! Fun post today Amy--no big surprise though....

9:19 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Lizzy, The album is definitely worth buying.

Troy, I'm beginning to think you have a weakness for the singer/songwriter breed.

1:28 PM  
Blogger kickpleat said...

i'm totally smitten with the euros child song. beautiful! i never really got on with the posies...too many bad live shows maybe, but the stringfellow song is quite nice.

2:53 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Isn't it beautiful? And I know what you mean about the Posies. The records always sounded a little overproduced to me.

4:57 PM  

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