ARTIST The Child of Lov
ALBUM The Child of Lov
LABEL Double Six Records
RELEASE DATE 7.5.2013
9.1 | 10
With Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett putting Gorillaz on indefinite hiatus after Plastic Beach/The Fall, and André 3000 and Big Boi unable to find time to get in a studio together to make another OutKast album, the music industry sorely lacked the freak-flag waving, left-field making pop hits that helped usher in a new wave of popular music. That void is filled somewhat on The Child of Lov’s consistently rewarding and head-turning debut self-titled LP.
The talking points have written themselves: before the album was even release, there was a sense that The Child was on to something big by landing impressive guest appearances from DOOM and Gorillaz and Blur frontman Albarn. That’s not to say keeping good company automatically grants one access to the same level of adoration of DOOM or Albarn. You got to earn your keep, and Cole Williams, the wizard behind The Child of Lov, more than earns our approval.
For 10 tracks, Williams wears his influences as a badge of honor, not as a mask. That differentiation is important: had Williams solely made 10 OutKast/Gorillaz B-sides, the album would be a clunker. Instead, all the songs here are undeniably the work of Williams as he adds his own artistic touches throughout. On opener “Call Me Up,” Lov double and triple tracks his vocals over a slow-rolling beat, and altogether the track could be mistaken for The Church of Sizzurp’s anthem. “Heal” barrels through with a fantastic guitar riff reminiscent of Gorillaz (2001), all the while vocally sounding like a cross between Prince and Cee-Lo Green. “Living the Circle” and “Fly” feature beats that Big Boi and 3-Stacks must be salivating over, and “Give Me” recalls the best of late-90s hip-hop.
“Go With the End” is perhaps the best thing here, though, with Williams repeating the title ad nauseam, sounding more and more hysterical, and somehow never losing breath, as he continues the chant. The guitar solo midway through is a perfect flourish, fitting seamlessly within the song. For good measure he even throughs in the TV On The Radio influenced “Warrior,” where one would not be ridiculed for mistaking his vocal performance for that of Tunde Adebimpe. That I haven’t mentioned the collaborations with DOOM and Albarn yet speaks volumes. Those two tracks, “Owl” and “One Day,” might actually be the least rewarding tracks here. Not to say they aren’t good (they most certainly are), it’s just that Williams shows himself to be such a unique and compelling voice that even his high-profile guests can’t steal his spotlight.