The Children / Keith - 53 Degrees Preston - 8.2.07

Based in Manchester but featuring members from all over the country, Keith have received critical acclaim by various music publications. Lead singer Ollie Baystone is an Alex Turner lookalike and Keith's music is a mix of 80s jingle jangle indie, quirky rock and folk. "Hold That Gun" has a touch of the Wonderstuff while "Glockenspiel Song" is off the wall inspired lunacy. When Ollie is let loose on the bongos he's in a rhythmic trance making their set a great live experience. Keith receive a Designer Magazine recommendation. Their name may be ordinary but live they're anything but.

The Children formed in 2004 and two years later were awarded the accolade of best unsigned band by XFM Manchester. Last year they supported Paul Weller at Manchester Apollo and were invited by the Modfather himself to record at his own personal studio. As well as their own tour The Children will open for The Inspiral Carpets at Manchester Academy next month. Impeccable credentials for any band.

Cheeky looking frontman Ben Carcano appears to be wearing Paddington Bear's coat for some reason, but the Mancunian scallywag has a gruff bluesy voice and a jolly way about him. My main problem with The Children though is their lack of originality like a Coral tribute band playing new material. The Children share with the Liverpool band the same jaunty sound with a 60s feel, a psychedelic vibe, melodic guitars and that swirly wurlitzer type of keyboard sound. They even almost dress the same way. That's not to say that The Children aren't in any way a good band. The songs are retro, catchy and easy to like but i've heard this type of band so many times before. The Children are good humoured lads enjoying themselves with gusto. As musicians they're skilled, tight and perform well but musically don't offer anything fresh, new or exciting.

Only towards the end of their set do the Children redeem themselves in my eyes. Two songs that stand out triumphantly are "Merry Go Round" which has guitarist Jonny Brown Shoes in his element and the raucous "Sweet 19" but a couple of top tunes do not make a great band. "I believe that children are the future", but i'm not entirely sure that in this case the word future will site comfortably with the career trajectory of the band i've just witnessed who coincidentally are called The Children

Nicholas Paul Godkin


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