Children Collide – ‘Time Itself’

By Andy Joice

After a near decade-long hiatus, Aussie three piece Children Collide are back to release new LP ‘Time Itself’. After such a long time away from the scene, it can be difficult to reclaim your place in an industry that’s everchanging. Is the sound that made your name still relevant after all these years, or will the absence of new music cause a thirst for anything new? For Children Collide, it’s all about overcoming time itself (see what we did there?).

Opening with ‘Funeral For A Ghost’, rolling basslines and mechanical drumming dominate from the outset as an intricate, jangly melody from Johnny Mackay rings. Normally an indicator of the direction an album will take, this opener flashes its intentions with mischievous self-awareness. Pithy, provocative, pondering.

Singles ‘Trampoline’ and ‘Uh Oh’ show Children Collide’s variance. While the former maintains a slow, bouncing beat throughout – though it does also include a riff midway that recreates airy, freeflowing movement of being high in the air with no resistance – ‘Uh oh’ is a beat heavy party anthem. A riff that’s as distinctive as ‘Seven Nation Army’, it’s instantly memorable and leaves a sickly sweet taste in the mouth. A gentle word of warning – it’s almost impossible not to “uh oh” along in the choruses.

‘Mind Spider’ is their longest track to date, a meandering noise-punk adventure that wanders through fields of static distortion amongst a softly melodious bassline. The way Chelsea Wheatley manipulates her four strings into keeping everything underpinned is nothing short of brilliance – understated and refined, yet intimidating as hell. Whilst Wheatley and drummer Ryan Ceasar control the track, Mackay has free reign to riff to his hearts content with the full use of more pedals than we can decipher, creating a web of sonics that is pretty much described by the title.

The grungey ‘Return To Femmes’, complete with a fuzzy sliding riff in the verses, and the avant-garde ‘SPS’ add additional layers to their dexterous sound, leaning heavily into a groaning post-punk. It’s easy to maintain to one genre, be it post-punk, landfill indie or grunge, but to bounce between them throughout an album or, more impressively, a track, is truly something to smile at.

Closing track, and indeed the title track, ‘Time Itself’ is the slowest of the record, a haunting piece full of gentle melodies and “ooohs”, acts tastily as a palate cleanser, leaving just enough of a reminder of all the elements scattered throughout, without ever putting them at the forefront. Its balance creates an uneasy mysticism that urges repeated listening to catch every minute detail.

As tight and sharp as ever, you would never have known this is Children Collide’s first release in nearly a decade. ‘Time Itself’ is a journey, with huge swerves between sounds and styles whilst still maintaining their core self. Although a little repetitive in places, some of the steps taken into noise-rock, grunge, and post-punk are gladly welcome. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another decade for the next album.

ANDY JOICE

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