Review: Children ‘Counterfeit Fire’ EP

Children are a heavily experimental noise-rock band based in Berlin founded initially by vocalist, lyricist, guitarist, and bassist Tim Nagel, who also co-runs independent distro/label Teratology Sound & Vision (home to Slutet, Maggot Heart, and the delightfully named Cuntroaches). The band soon expanded to include guitarist and bassist Ivan Krasnov, drummer Roy Chen, saxophonist Jeremy Coubrough, and Max Hillebrand who handles all of the sound work.

Children 'Counterfeit Fire'

The aforementioned Tim Nagel has put out releases by Maggot Heart including the Show Them Your Teeth EP and Dusk To Dusk debut full-length on his own label, it now appears as if the favour is being returned, with Children‘s debut EP Counterfeit Fire being issued by Linnea Olson‘s Rapid Eye Records. There is something deliciously DIY about the cover art, no fancy embellishments or gimmicks, no prog pretensions ala Roger Dean, nor the somewhat cringeworthy scenes of scantily clad women intertwined with scenes of nature designed by John Baizley of Baroness. It instead looks like it was hand drawn in a matter of minutes and is perhaps indicative of the more upfront no-nonsense music to come.

Counterfeit Fire opens proceedings with pure disjointed offbeat noise-rock that sounds like it’s teetering on the verge of collapse at any moment, bands like The Jesus Lizard very much appear to be an influence here, especially the vocals of David Yow. However, there also seems to be a free jazz approach too as evidenced by the improvisational nature of the music, think latter period John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman etc. Finally, add in the eccentric tendencies of Japanese experimental outfit The Boredoms and you should get a picture as to what to expect sonically.

Wheel Of Stagnation has more of a raucous The Stooges garage-rock vibe, albeit injected with a heavy dose of underrated and overlooked Chicago outfit Tar. In comparison to its predecessor there is more of a driving straight-forward feel to the track, but don’t let that fool you, the band haven’t suddenly turned into U2 or Kings of Leon, it’s still as fiercely uncompromising as ever.

Discordant, noisy, to some even tuneless, for me it’s sheer aural bliss…

True Language sees the band once again embracing the Japanese noise-rock scene with a nod this time to Zeni Geva and if any of the tracks off of that band’s incredible 10,000 Light Years album gets your juices flowing then you will absolutely adore what you hear here. Throw in the late Steve MacKaye’s (The Stooges) style sax as well as traces of Saccharine Trust/Universal Congress for good measure too. Discordant, noisy, to some even tuneless, for me it’s sheer aural bliss.

Negative Mirror is the shortest track on Counterfeit Fire and perhaps the hardest to pin down in terms of sound, at least initially. After repeated listens one can start to hear faint traces of Chrome’s proto industrial punk/post-punk, especially in terms of Helios Creed’s guitar-work, perhaps even math-rock originators such as Brainiac and Don Caballero. Whatever the case may be, Children end this, their debut EP in characteristic kickass fashion.

Rapid Eye Records, unlike some labels, take their time when it comes to putting out new releases, after all, Linnea (one of the founding members) is in a band herself and thus supremely busy with recording and touring commitments. However, when they do, they pretty much knock it straight out of the park, a home run each time to put it into American baseball vernacular. First with Maggot Heart’s Mercy Machine, then the split with Okkultokrati, the stupendous Rakta/Deafkids live 12”, and now this, Children‘s tasty first release. This is a fantastic EP that bodes well for future releases for both the band and label alike.

Label: Rapid Eye Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Reza Mills