You don’t need to be Sherlock to deduce that Only Child are a Liverpool band, as the opening track is ‘Scouse’ on their latest offering ‘Emotional Geography.’ This track gives a potted history of, and a personal look at, the hometown of writer Alan O’Hare. In fact, if you could hallmark an album as you would silver and gold then ‘Emotional Geography’ would have the Liver Bird stamped on the front, and running through it like a stick of rock, if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphors.
There is a real blend of styles going on here, like the City itself, taking influences from over the water, and over the border(s). It also has that Liverpool tradition of storytelling, and references the writer’s upbringing on ‘St Oswald street’ in the Old Swan area, in an autobiographical track, as well as, at the risk of upsetting some, tales of visits to far-flung and more exotic locations of Barcelona, Paris and Dublin in ‘Looking For A Song’.
Those locations are eclipsed by California and Mexico City, but even then Alan O’Hare is “killing time, is there anything worse in life?” in ‘Coming Home Soon’ and it is obvious that wherever he may be in the world Alan is really hankering after a return to his home, his City, the centre of his Universe. This is the theme in the final track ‘Thinking of a Place’ and he is “Daydreaming all about summer days down Penny Lane”. Where have we heard that before?
Alan is by no means a one-man band and the musicianship of his bandmates Lee Shone, Amy Chalmers, Julie Fiebelkorn, Stuart Todd, Howard Northover, Fionna McConnell and Matt Lawton, together with producer, Jon Lawton, are to be commended.
I don’t know if Alan has any tattoos but if he does I expect one will be “there’s no place like home” probably in a Celtic font. Written large.