Ireland’s Somebody’s Child have released their debut self-titled album on the Frenchkiss Records. Somebody’s Child is the musical project of Cian Godfrey and he is keen to impress upon listeners an image of a modern, progressive Ireland rather than the stereotypical one often portrayed by foreign media:
“We’re not all smoking cigarettes, drinking Guinness around a candle in some pub reading Joyce. We’re a forward thinking group of people who are struggling to afford to live in the place we’re from. This album has been my escape”.
Opening with ‘You Know What‘ and ‘I Need Ya’ we are immediately struck by the quality of the vocals. Cian has passion, power and talent in abundance. Combine this with anthemic instrumentation and the songs are immediately accessible and captivating. ‘Hold Me Like You Wanna’ has a gentler approach allowing the vocal to take the lead. The guitar riffs add a glorious layer and it feels a very personal track, an expression of human connection. The quieter section only adds to the thrill of Cian’s vocal talent.
‘Sell Out‘ is an out and out banger. It announces itself with a screech of reverb. Play it loud and dance. The abrupt stop / start midtrack is crisp and unexpected. Lyrically the theme is acknowledging the attempt to try to stay true to yourself: “I’ll try not to sell my life away.”
‘Broken Record‘ follows in a similar vein, the reverb more prominent and again its self-expression, sharing the importance of holding onto innocence as adulthood approaches. This is an expansive track, live it will fill the room and then some. Cian’s vocals are ever present, even in the background when the music takes over. And what a great touch at the end, the reverb seeing out the track, perhaps signifying the anxiety of the songs theme.
‘Give It Up To Love’, ‘How Long?‘ and ‘What I Said’ present a softer side to Somebody’s Child, full of vulnerability and yet passion and emotion. It demonstrates the versatility of this talented band and is music to lose yourself in. The healing power of music is right here. We need our quiet moments to handle the chaos around us. Cian expands on his music:
“Most of all, I want my music to help people who are struggling. I struggled with anxiety and panic attacks and music grounded me, so I would like to think my music could help change someone’s life too”.
‘Stay’ lifts the tempo again, with its indie-pop vibe and rhythm, and ‘Jungle‘ again showcases that vocal. This reviewer is not going to apologise for the number of mentions of the quality of the voice. Post punk has perhaps made us more aware of the talent of a quality singer, as in Somebody’s Child. ‘Jungle‘ is a recognition of how tough life can be. And to remember you are not alone.
Somebody’s Child saves the best to last with ‘We Could Start A War‘. The quality and strength of the vocal immediately makes the listener sit up and pay attention. Combined with the sonic landscape, minimal at the outset thus the vocal has no place to hide. This is an anthemic track, in the true sense of the word, full of passion and belief with lyrics both heartfelt and honest.
“So what the fuck are we fighting for?
What are we hoping to achieve?”
On the track Cian explains:
“’We Could Start A War’ is a huge track for us. The original version was a demo I wrote in 20 minutes or so and Shea produced in our little makeshift studio in Dublin. We spent 50 quid on artwork and just put it out, now it’s our biggest song. This is now the real version, I guess. The timing is also serendipitous because the video is about where it was written, and the juxtaposition between beauty in tradition, and the ugly face of gentrification – of which both are in abundance. Now I’ve moved to London, partly because of the result of this – not being able to afford life in my hometown.”
Somebody’s Child have poured so much of themselves into this album. It’s personal yet universal in its themes, honestly sharing the difficulties of moving into adulthood, particularly in these most challenging of times. Sonically Cian states “The album is the idea of the ‘80s rolling into the ‘00s in 2022.” Beautifully put, and with a headline tour beginning on 7 February at Rough Trade East with a performance and signing before continuing round the country I have no doubt the star will shine brightly for Somebodys Child in 2023 and beyond.
Somebody’s Child self-titled album is out on 3 February on Frenchkiss Records.
For more information please check out their facebook and website.