A fellow punter at a recent Lexington gig tweeted afterwards “I defy anyone to go to a Euros Childs gig and go home without a smile on their face”. That is generally true about any performance by the former Gorkys Zygotic Mynci frontman, but the back-in-love exuberance of Sweetheart means that this tour is likely to be particularly grin inducing.
On his last couple of albums Euros seemed to be in a bad place, but the glass is definitely half full on Sweetheart. I only stress that because with Euros song titles are not always a clear guide to lyrical content. Opening track Horse and Cart, for example, is a song about longing (a dream about travelling through the night on said contraption), not a rumination on pastoral England. Fruit and Veg is about the build-up to starting a relationship (“You’re beautiful / I love you / Wish you were mine”), rather than about healthy eating. Machine, on the other hand, appears from the lyric sheet to be continuing the love-song theme (“I don’t need no alcohol, smoke or crack cocaine / All I need is you / To get me through the day”), and yet at the Lexington gig Euros cheerfully explained that the object of affection is, as the song title in this case accurately hints, a smart phone.
After a recent run of low-fi solo records, on Sweetheart Euros is back with a band and, in particular, is able to showcase the talents of Laura J. Martin, whose flute adds something to every track on which she plays. Indeed, Childs makes a point of noting when she is not on stage at the live performances, joking that he’s been on the phone all day with Martin’s manager, trying to persuade him to relax the clause that requires she has a break after every fourth song – “It’s not like she does anything with the time off, look – she’s just standing there by the stage!”.
All in all this is a cracker of a record. Admittedly, it is only under severe torture that I could ever be persuaded that any of Euros Childs’ output was anything less than genius. Sweetheart, however, is a beautiful album by anybody’s judgement and one of my favourites in what is now a rather large Childs/Gorkys lexicon. But like that wine that tasted so good on holiday that you bought a case to take home, Euros Childs is definitely best appreciated live, so a big markontour thank you to the kind door staff who let me buy a guest-list no-show place at his sell out gig last week!