Childhood’s ‘Californian Light’ single embraces reinvention and adulthood

Ben Romans-Hopcraft leads the way on a track from new album 'Universal High'.

Under their last guise, London band Childhood found themselves lost in a hazy style of psych. 2014’s debut album ‘Lacuna’ is a sedated mix of tropical stylings and loose guitars, like being caught up in a cloud of cigarette smoke on a balmy summer’s evening.

Cut to the present day, and they’re a completely different proposition. It’d be harsh on ‘Lacuna’ to say they’ve completely ditched its signature sound, but that’s pretty much what’s happened. On record, Childhood have gone from a four-piece to a solo pursuit. Ben Romans-Hopcraft is now at the helm of the project. And comeback track ‘California Light’ feels like a very personal expression of his roots. It’s out with exploratory psych, in with sharp-edged soul.

“Being surrounded by soul music, classic pop songs and music with any form of groove all my life, these influences began to speak for themselves within these new songs we were writing,” says Romans-Hopcraft. Whereas before Childhood’s music was suited to wild, sweaty gigs – all flailing limbs and beer-stained floors – ‘California Light’ could soundtrack pretty much anything: Road trips, dinner parties, first kisses.

An accompanying video, shot by director Georgio Barber, sees Romans-Hopcraft walking the south London streets he grew up with. It’s almost like he’s tracing the steps of his actual childhood, watching life pass him by.

Childhood’s new album ‘Universal High’ is out July 21 via Marathon Artists.

Catch Childhood on tour (* = w/ Whitney):

Live at Leeds (April 29)
Stag & Dagger Festival, Glasgow (April 30)
Secret location, London (May 2)
The Great Escape, Brighton (May 19)
London Calling, Amsterdam (May 27)
The Ritz, Manchester (June 4) *
Southwold, Latitude Festival (July 16)
France, Hyeres Midi Festival (July 22)
Reykjavik, Iceland Airwaves (November 1-5)