INTERVIEW

“In 2004 three drainpipe-adorned eye-linered hipsters invented The Horrors and the gothic revival, before they lost a member, stopped touring and disappeared. But, like an especially stylish cockroach, Neils Children refuse to keel over and have returned with an ace debut album to claim the recognition they deserve. The record in question, ‘Pop:Aural’ – a […]

“In 2004 three drainpipe-adorned eye-linered hipsters invented The Horrors and the gothic revival, before they lost a member, stopped touring and disappeared. But, like an especially stylish cockroach, Neils Children refuse to keel over and have returned with an ace debut album to claim the recognition they deserve.

The record in question, ‘Pop:Aural’ – a new wave sugar rush through post-punk’s danciest hollows – demonstrates a rare thing in today’s scene
– artistic progression. “Personally, as a songwriter I felt a little bit in limbo,” explains singer and guitarist John Linger. “I didn’t feel that the band was fulfilling its true potential doing what we were doing,”

The instatement of Keith Seymour in place of original bassist James Hair, alongside Linger and drummer Brandon Jacobs, has provided room for a more melodic and precise sound than the rushing madness of 2004’s ‘Change/Return/Success’ mini-album – “It was just a case of realising that
we don’t just have to play that thrashier side of things, that there can be a more melody,” says Linger. So what do a bunch of psych-goths do for three years out of the limelight? “We just carried on what we were doing,” says the frontman “just having no money! We weren’t really on tour, we weren’t really doing any recording so a lot of that time was just spent writing and rehearsing.”

Their time away has seen the similarly attired and influenced Horrors rise to the top of the alternative pile, leading some to dub Neils Children ‘the original Horrors’. And while Neils Children’s new sound is now far distinct from The Horrors garage-grunge, there is a certain aesthetic
similarity. Linger says: “Well, the connection is much more organic than that. As to whether Neils Children has influenced The Horrors, I’d say probably The Horrors were Neils Children fans before they were around. I’ve been friends with Rhys [Spider Webb] for seven or eight years now. I see what people mean about the fashion side, but I think that’s just down to the fact that we’re all into the same kind of music.”

As catchy as The Horrors are noisy however, ‘Pop:Aural’ doesn’t play like a Kaisers-esque claw for success but more like a celebration of the
rediscovery of Linger’s muse. Stand out tracks like ‘The Eyes Of A Child’ are reminiscent of Duran Duran being beaten up by LCD Soundystem and Gang Of Four, while the existential dirge of ‘I Can’t Be Myself’ hints at the darkness of Syd Barrett and The Cure. “That darker atmosphere is something we’d like to explore more on the next record actually. We’ve been listening to early 80s gothic bands, like Bauhaus and Modern English,” adds Linger. “The song I’m most proud of is the poppiest though, ‘I’m Ill’. It took quite a lot for us to get to that point – it’s poppy, but it’s still credible.”

While retaining the same black drainpipes, vintage guitars and monolithic hair so de rigeur for any self-respecting scenester, Neils Children have
reinvented themselves, creating some of the most exciting pop songs we’ve heard this year. With ‘Pop:Aural’ set for release in the UK, Europe, Japan
and Australia in September, It looks like change (and patience) have finally returned success.

“I’m not expecting the album to sell thousands of copies,” laughs John. “I just hope when they hear the record people can say ‘OK, it’s been a long
while since they released their last record, but it’s worth the wait, ‘cos they’ve gone away and done something fresh and exciting.'”

Let’s just hope the next one’s not another three years in the making.”

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