The Children’s Hour “Going Home”

Drag City, 2024

Twenty-one years late, a second showing from lo-fi collective.

Album art for Children's Hour Going HomeJosephine Foster, Andy Bar and Dave Pajo conjure up some lo-fi sounds in the latest release from Drag City, a label that can be trusted to deliver both compelling and vital product ranging from across the musical spectrum. So what of ‘Going Home’ originally recorded in 2003 and released now? Twenty years is a long time to wait. Was it worth it? Yes and no is the answer.

Based around Josephine Foster’s idiosyncratic vocals (at once mellow and yet piercing) this is the second series of vignettes (following SOS JFK) that conjures up an overall vibe rather than paint clear individual narratives or stories. There’s whistling, strummed guitars and rudimentary experimental drumbeats that all drive the album along in a fine style. ‘Anna’ is a highlight, seemingly capturing the sense of the album and its many parts in the one song; at once naive and charming as well as slightly disconcerting. Spidery guitar lines improvising their way to the final bars. 

There is a parched air that hovers over ‘Wyoming’  between the call and response of the vocals and guitar. It feels a bit Nico and Lou and this is probably as good a touchstone as there can be. And the title track could almost be a nursery rhyme such is its initial charm and simplicity. Gently strummed acoustic with angular lead and Baker’s vocals swooping in and out with the simple refrain until the drums crash in with cymbals shining and the band hurtle towards the climax.   

So yes and no. Yes, it’s great that this album surfaces now and allows the music to be heard. No, it does not change the musical landscape and in many ways is just a distillation of the aforementioned SOS JFK. Lovely but not essential.

6/10
6/10

About Keith Hargreaves 345 Articles
Riding the one eyed horse into dead town the scales fell from his eyes. Music was the only true god at once profane and divine The dust blew through his mind as he considered the offering... And then he scored it out of ten and waited for the world to wake up
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