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Album: Neils Children – Dimly Lit

Dimly LitMusic in 2013 is sometimes hard to get a fix on. Thanks to the internet, sampling and an attitude which is far less reverent to ‘sacred cows’, labels can be hard to make stick as bands beg, borrow and steal and often change sound or direction within a song let alone an album.

But I will stick my neck out and claim Neils Children for the English Pastoral Psych/Folk Revival. Yes, along with such disparate acts as Jacco Gardner, Belbury Poly and Matt Berry, their world moves to Syd Barret-era Pink Floyd, the Wickerman soundtrack, whooshing noises from Hawkwind’s ‘Silver Machine’, and a modern sheen in terms of production, samples and rhythm. They are the names which rattle around your brain while listening to Dimly Lit.

(There is also a strong link to short-lived 90s London band Sun Dial with their driving psych rock…or maybe that’s just me.)

The vocals are not the strongest part of the album but John Linger’s style does suit the music as this genre often has pronouncedly English
vocals, often buried in the mix. Far stronger are the bass and drums, driving each song and offering the clues that this is 2013 and not 1966 or 1973. I was tempted to mention Broadcast or Stereolab – they evoke the feel of them though both bands are lighter, poppier, or more electronic in their approach.

At its most ‘pop’ the album is not unlike a less rock version of Tame Impala…the band are also friends with The Horrors and there is a stylistic link between Neils Children and the later work of the Essex band’s ‘Primary Colours’ album.

Overall, very promising and nice to hear something which has ambitions to be more than just another vapid indie/electro crossover. They may not reach the standards of the bands they clearly idolise, but they’ve got great role models and they’re trying. That’s worth something.

Scott Roberts

Dimly Lit is out now on Boudoir Moderne.

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