Label: Wichita Release Date: 27/10/2008 Link: http://www.euroschilds.com/ Fourth solo album from the ex-Gorky's Zygotic Mynci singer First a confession: I know next to nothing of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci (having always pegged them, probably unfairly, as a poor man’s SFA), let alone the solo work of their former front man.  In fact, when a friend suggested that we catch Euros Childs at the recent Concrete & Glass festival I wrongly assumed that it was the name of a new band until he enlightened me.  And enlightened I truly became - he was fantastic.  Stood behind a bank of keyboards, accompanied by bass and drums, he belted out a series of stomping, upbeat, quirky pop songs that had the packed room nodding and smiling.  So when I volunteered to review his new album, I was eagerly expecting more of the same. From the none-so-subtle build up, you can probably guess that this was not to be the case.  As the title hints, Cheer Gone is a largely mid-paced, downbeat record.  The majority of the songs have a strong country flavour with the keyboards usurped by guitars (along with pedal steel, banjo and violin).  Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, far from it – I have a long-standing love of all things country, alt and otherwise – but it took a few listens to get over my initial disappointment and appreciate the album for what it is. The opening track, ‘Autumn Leaves’ signposts the pastoral theme that recurs throughout: the passing of the seasons from Summer to Winter and the associated death and decay of nature (I’m going out on a limb but I think these might be metaphors).  Musically many of the tracks, particularly ‘Saving Up To Get Married’ and ‘Summer Days’, could be outtakes from The Byrds’ Sweetheart Of The Rodeo (this is high praise, in case you were wondering).  Elsewhere, ‘O Ein Dear’, sung entirely in Welsh, sounds uncannily like the Velvet Underground’s ‘Venus In Furs’. What lets down much of the album is the vocals.  While perfectly tuneful and melodious, they lack the necessary character and emotional investment in the material that would bring many of these songs to life.  On the stark murder ballad ‘Farm Hand Murder’ where he should be exuding menace and/or remorse, Childs just sounds bored.  The notable exception is the beautiful and romantic ‘Medicine Head’ where, backed simply by organ, harmonica and whisper-quiet drums, he softly croons, “with your red dress on, promise in your eyes, how you danced into my heart”.  Incongruously, it is followed by ‘Sing Song Song’ a jaunty hoedown that evokes the horrors of 'Cotton-Eyed Joe'.