Universal High

Childhood - Universal High
Critic Score
Based on 15 reviews
2017 Ratings: #321 / 735
User Score
Based on 22 ratings
July 21, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
Marathon Artists / Label
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Loud and Quiet
Barring a couple of pedestrian moments, and it must be said the occasional feeling of pastiche, ‘Universal High’ is a melody-driven, good-time record of fabulous soul-pop.
The Line of Best Fit
It’s a natural-sounding progression that confounds the expected developments ‘a guitar band’ should make and instead adds a glorious musical technicolour to a set of songs to soundtrack the summer and beyond.
God Is in the TV

One similarity between Childhood’s Universal High and predecessor Lacuna is that they both radiate a laid-back aura that can imagine them being played on a smartphone speaker as a couple relax on summer grass but Universal High goes a step further. It’s so smooth and sensual in parts, it could act as an aphrodisiac.

‘Universal High’ is the reinvention we never knew we needed.
The Guardian
While there’s still room to push it further, Childhood are clearly coming of age.
The result of this collaboration is a set of sophisticated, textured psychedelic soul and jazzy synth pop with no shortage of elegant grooves and melodies. The new sound may be a surprise, but it could also be the sound of summer.
In digging back through music history’s treasure trove, Childhood have forged ahead into genuinely exciting new ground. They might have broken through with a bunch of other bands, but now Childhood don’t need anyone but themselves.

The end result is something carefully put together, slightly funky, slightly psych and ultimately soulful.

Under The Radar
Ultimately, the record is a lot of fun and will sit best with those who avoid taking life and love too seriously
Northern Transmissions

The record all but abandons the jangly pop of its predecessor, 2014’s Lacuna, for a deep, soulful sound that fits the band about as well as your suit fit you on the day of your high school graduation: just enough.

Change is good and expected from new, learning artists, but lacking a distinguishable characteristic to cling to makes the trajectory for a band like Childhood hazier than the kaleidoscopic jams they started out with.
From lead single ‘California Light’ to the eponymous ‘Universal High’, it’s immediately obvious that this is a record much more polished than its predecessor, and as a result, feels more much accessible also. As such, it struggles to take hold in the same way 2014’s ‘Lacuna’ did; its ten tracks gliding by in what’s a charming but ultimately fairly unmemorable 45 minutes.
A.V. Club

At points, Universal High finds a hook and rides it somewhere new, but for the most part it’s content to time-travel to safe harbors, layering clean, jazzy guitar over simple grooves or dabbling in yacht rock—hardly a groundbreaking move in 2017.

A.M.D // 83
Californian Light // 93
Cameo // 90
Too Old For My Tears // 86
Melody Says // 80
Universal High // 70
Understanding // 73
Don’t Have Me Back // 69
Nothing Ever Seems Right // 76
Monitor // 88

An exciting and fun blend of Indie, Psychedelia and Soul from days of old, all remembered and re-lived through the eyes of a young South London teenager, Ben Romans-Hopcraft. It's hard not to be optimistic when you have a debut album of Lacuna's stature under your belt, but with that ... read more
1. A.M.D. 8.5/10
2. Californian Light 10/10
3. Cameo 8/10
4. Too Old for My Tears 7/10
5. Melody Says 8.5/10
6. Universal High 6.5/10
7. Understanding 4.5/10
8. Don't Have Me Back 5.5/10
9. Nothing Ever Seems Right 8/10
10. Monitor 7/10

Total: 73.5/100 = 73.5%
Took me by surprise.
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Year End Lists

#11/Rough Trade

Track List

  1. A.M.D.
  2. Californian Light
  3. Cameo
  4. Too Old for My Tears
  5. Melody Says
  6. Universal High
  7. Understanding
  8. Don't Have Me Back
  9. Nothing Ever Seems Right
  10. Monitor
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Added on: June 1, 2017