After cutting his teeth on the live circuit with Grooverider, Shy FX and even more impressively, Scratch Perverts and Killa Kela, Trip – a.k.a. Alex Childs – drops by with his debut album Shortcuts. The quirky singles River Phoenix and Who’s That set us up rather nicely for what Shortcuts has to offer.
I’m going to dive in head first and say first of all what a unique talent Alex Childs is. Sounding like a distant cousin of Mike Skinner but with a much more colourful lyric-book, Trip throws so much subject matter in to his songs it really is a joy to listen to. Against a backdrop of synths, guitars and drums- as opposed to sampled processed beats- this lyric spitter from Holloway Boulevard certainly sounds fresh and full of verve.
Name-checking Guns N’ Roses in Applecheeks and kindly letting us know that he “…lost his cherry during the solo of November Rain” (Who’s That) shows that he may have influences beyond Mike Skinner. As well as being good backing tracks for Alex Childs lyrical story-telling in most cases the music stands up well by itself, Break The Jukebox and River Phoenix could both be magic musical moments from any of the top British bands of today
Elements of Olympic Breakfast could be mistaken for an offering from The Prodigy, however, spitting lines like “I’ve got knife and fork in my hands just like a drummer…” suggest that sometimes telling it like it is may leave you with the odd questionable lyric here and there.
But that is one aspect which you can’t help but find appealing about Trip. Olympic-sized breakfasts (Olympic Breakfast), the day to day thoughts and frustrations of a paramedic (Breathe) and the Take That-splitting-up kind of devastation of River Phoenix (it’s nice that after all these years he’s not forgotten) makes you wonder what lyrical content didn’t make it on to the album.
The Gambler’s a more thoughtful track, not unlike Dry Your Eyes but the almost uncomfortable listening of the thoughts of someone about to jump off a building isn’t exactly radio-friendly subject matter. But hats off to Trip for not being put off by this, and even more kudos for not being too contrived or relying on the shock-factor. Lines like “The pavement will spell it, I don’t need no letter” and “If I was watching I’d probably take odds on me jumping” show that more thought has gone into this song (and likewise the rest of the album) than Trip may be given credit for.
The UK music scene is in a purgatory of sorts. Some feel let down by the recent Arctic Monkeys album, Coldplay have entered the world of the stadium tour and with downloads being eligible for chart entry, anything with enough hype stands a chance of being number one come Sunday evening. So it’s rather heart-warming that the album format is not redundant in everyones’ eyes.
Trip has written and released a collection of songs which despite having similarities to past and present artists, delivers something original and lacking today. With images of summer festivals still fresh in my head I can clearly picture Trip performing at Reading/Leeds/V Festivals alongside Dizzee Rascal, Lily Allen et al and giving them a good run for their money.
Catchy songs, sing-a-long lyrics and a chirpy attitude to boot, Trip is certainly an act to look out for in 2010.
Shortcuts is available to buy or download now.
For more Trip information please visit the following link;