These Your Children
Set a Fire
Set a Fire is available at:
The E.P. Fires is available from November 9th, 2015:
Set a Fire
WHEN it comes to exploring new music and what is out there…
is enough variety, for sure. If you are interested in Rock or Pop; Soul or whatever takes your fancy, there is something to tickle your fancy. When it comes to variation there are still gaps and avenues that are left unexplored. I admire bands and acts that buck trends and go against the grain when it comes to music. We have to look back to the past to see music at its most daring and explorative. I find too many current bands and acts are too restrictive and safety-minded when it comes to pushing their sounds. Maybe critical minds and mainstream tastes dictate something particular and familiar- meaning a lot of brand-new artists tends to play it safe to begin with. I guess your music projections (when it comes to artists) are dictated by your upbringing and favourite acts. I bring up this point because These Your Children sound unlike anything I have ever heard. Their name may sound like an angry northerner holding two children by their ears- bringing them back to their parents after their football has broken his window- but their music is as original and experimental as I have heard for a while. Inspired by African sounds and rhythms, the duo brings African sensations together with modern Rock and Soul undertones. With the music game being a competitive and ever-expanding one, it is refreshing to find a duo that are so relaxed and assured. I shall introduce them to you shortly, but for now, the issue of anxiety and naturalness come to mind. With music being such a foreboding and unforgiving mistress, it is a gamble going into the fray. Regardless of quality and ambitious, you cannot always guarantee yourself success and longevity. I think a lot of artists let stress and pressure get on top of them too much. That tends to impact on their music and moulds their future- leading them to capitulate and retreat. Artists that come in with a mixture of confidence and relaxed spirit tend to fare better and ride the waves more seamlessly. These Your Children is a duo that seems completely confident and assured in their own skin. The stunning twosome seduces you with their soulfulness and amazing blends. By tying in African influences together with contemporary hardness to create something scintillating and completely awe-inspiring. Before I continue on my point and raise a couple of new ones, let me introduce you to my featured act:
“Nottingham show / EP launch 18 November at The Bodega, London show–25 November at St Pancras Old Church in association with Mahogany Sessions http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/event/200377
Nottingham -based singing-songwriting duo Rebeka Prance and Joe Baxter, better known as These Your Children debut lead single ‘Set a Fire’, taken from their EP of the same name. These your Children describe their sound as ‘storytelling music with the aim to take you on a journey ‘with an undercurrent of African freedom songs that combine passionate vocals and delicate melodies. Their forthcoming 4- track EP ‘Fires’ aims to stay true to their intimate vocals by exploring an emotive angle, yet showcasing their eagerness to experiment with a bolder, tribal sound. Growing up together from a young age in Nottingham in the Midlands, they both came from musical backgrounds, enjoying a healthy upbringing of Stevie Wonder, Quincey Jones and Earth Wind And Fire, all of whom they cite as some of their key musical inspirations. Joe’s initial music involvement started at an early age when he learnt to play the drums and guitar which lead him to develop a passion for songwriting that later culminated in him studying a Jazz Drums Degree at Birmingham Conservatoir. Similarly, Rebeka developed a fondness for Jazz from a young age which shaped her listening choices growing up, admitting that she “didn’t know pop music existed until the Spice Girls.” As a child she was a keen singer which led her towards The Arts and in turn she developed as a vocalist and eventually went on to study a degree in Vocal Music Performance at The Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford. Built upon a foundation of a longstanding friendship, These Your children officially formed in September 2011 while they were both at university and where they began to receive positive feedback from their YouTube videos reworking favourites such as Al Green’s, ‘Let’s Stay Together’ and Corinne Bailey Rae’s ‘Put Your Records On’. By the following year they were writing more of their own material and towards the end of 2012 and into 2013 they were gigging the new material and started recording their EP. They supported JP Cooper in Nottingham in 2015. The Fires EP is a refreshing debut release from an exciting duo, with a lot more to come.”
What you get with the Nottingham duo is something both familiar and highly unexpected. When it comes to African influences and motifs of freedom and emancipation, you do not get too many acts make those kinds of moves. I think of Paul Simon’s Graceland and some more underground acts and albums. In terms of the mainstream and new music coming through, few artists are as ‘daring’. Perhaps that is the wrong word yet how many acts do you know that fuse African elements with Soul and Rock edges? It is this distinction and pioneering spirit that is getting tongues wagging and critics excited. The duo’s forthcoming four-track E.P. is going to be very exciting indeed. With their fire-based songs already in the ether- Fires and Set a Fire– the Fires E.P. mixes inflammatory and explosive beauty with tribal sounds and stunningly beautiful vocals. It the interplay between the two leads that ensures you are completely entranced and hooked throughout. There is too much narrowness and riskless-ness in music which is meaning it can become predictable and stifled. It is always refreshing and impressive hearing something genuinely fresh and innovative make its voice heard. Prance and Baxter have an affinity for their subject matter and ensure their music resonates with every single listener. In a modern society concerned with disposability and short attention spans; These Your Children make music that is for those passionate about music. If you want something forgettable and quick, then look elsewhere. The duo’s rich and nuanced blends cater to music-lovers that look for something new and detailed.
Until recently These Your Children have largely been covers-based. When it comes to compare their earlier work, we have Fires. The title track to the forthcoming E.P. was dropped last month and was the first real exposure to their original material. When the song was first revealed, there was a lot of praise and critical feedback. Unlike anything on the current market, it is hardly surprising to see what the song garnered such a weight of appreciation and love. The introductory notes are soothing and melodic. Baxter takes the lead to begin and the duo soon combines and blends with perfect harmony. Images of moths to flames are drawn in; an intoxicating and dangerous sort of love is introduced. The chorus is a joyous and positive thing that raises the spirit levels and sees the song ignite (shall try and ease with the fire puns). Our duo investigates a passion that seems unstoppable and certain. Eyes are meeting and hearts are interlocking. There seems to be a huge desire and expectation at play which is enforced and compounded by the vocals. The duo is consistently gripping and tight throughout. Backed by a composition that is sparse yet powerful, the track has immediacy to it. The track has received a lot of great reviews from social media and SoundCloud users. I would say Set a Fire sees the duo in even more impressive form. Whereas Fires is a stunning tracks, Set a Fire is a companion piece that goes even further and deeper. The vocals seem even more intoxicating and stunning. The composition comes to the fore slightly more. The beats particularly stand out and really cut through the vocals. On the vocal note, the duo seems more electric and urgent. The chorus is another memorable and rousing moment that draws you in and compels the listener to vocalise and support its plight. A detailed and gorgeous track, it shows two different sides to the duo. I feel these two tracks have been released so close together, as they have similar sounds and lyrical ideals. There is love and passion for sure. The ‘fire’ part of the title is employed in different ways, but on both occasions, it is used to denote fiery passion and dangers. Although the lyrics are probably less personal and more universal in their themes, there are no weak moments to be heard. The duo make each sentiment sound new and personal and turn potential clichés into something much more fascinating and interesting. I suspect the E.P.’s ‘second half’ will be a little more personal and stray from general themes of love and passion. Maybe I am wrong but I see a duo with contrasts and two sets of themes and ideas. They are very much committed to universal themes and presenting them in a new light. In another sense they are keen to explore something much more unique and true to them. What Fires will show is an act with their eyes on the mainstream who are also committed to their own ethics and way of working. In every moment you can tell the music is special and with very few comparisons. The compositions are more daring and colourful whilst the vocal unity betrays a debt to nobody. Having concentrated a lot of covers and other artists’ songs beforehand, the two-piece are now putting their own material out there. There is no uncertainty and stumble; they naturally progress and evolve and sound as convincing in their own yard as they do in anyone else’s. This bodes well for future releases and it will mean a lot of ears and eyes will be snapping Fires up next week.
Set a Fire starts with gentle and lilting stings. Soon a cooing and wordless vocal comes in from Prance that adds to the mood of serenity and tranquility. What you begin to imagine is a night-time scene and a moonlight endeavor. The title comes to the mind straight away as you get projections of crackling fires and something rustic and countryside perhaps. That early dreaminess and promise augments as the acoustic guitar kick puts me in mind of Nick Drake and Folk’s legends. Both gentle yet with a strong backbone, it is a great introduction to the track. Underneath the acoustic guitar is a static and crackling beat that adds a much-needed sense of balance and urgency. With the instruments blending in perfect harmony, the listener is part-entranced and part-hopeful, as to what is coming next. There is an early air of tension and heartache to begin things. Whilst one party is building their house on sand (the other on stone) our heroine brings in graveside imagery and something quite haunting. A metaphorical representation for betrayal and deceit; her suitor/hero is picking flowers from the grave. Maybe a break-up has occurred or they are drifting apart. Whatever the origins, you get a real sense of anxiety and uncertainty. The man should keep his words confined and unspoken. Whatever he intends to say and whatever promises will be made, they will lead our heroine astray. Early thoughts lead me to believe there is a history behind the song and there is a very personal significance to the words. With our duo combining in voice and performing different sides to the story, it brings a real conviction and sense of reality to proceedings. Both beautiful and meaningful, the vocal work brings each word and thoughts to life. There is no insincerity and falsehood to any of the offerings as you are completely hooked and invested in the moment. At the back, the song is propelled by the punchy beat and swooning strings. It is said “we don’t speak/you don’t see” as the duo let their tones mingle and reach the stratosphere. Without revealing too much behind the ills and stresses of the relationship, you start to speculate and imagine your own course of events. Maybe the song looks at love in a more general sense and is seeing the two surveys a wider concern. By the time the chorus arrives, the pace quickens and the composition comes to the fore. The percussion stands out particularly and is tribal and bellicose in its intentions. Our duo looks at setting souls on fire and becoming motivated and engaged. The love has broken down and maybe there is too much restraint and needless tension and strain. The fire and ignition is going to clear the debris and see the passion come to life. Few choruses are as explosive and immediate as this and you get caught in its riptide and power. Riding the wave and letting the composition do its work, our intrepid twosome let their voices ring and shout loud. The messages combine a perfect sense of redemptive hope and a clarion call to the masses. So many lovers and couples are mired in a game of one-upmanship and pettiness. There is too much recrimination and blame with so many needlessly holding back and not letting their feelings made. The These Your Children heroes are penning a song that is designed to get voices singing and bodies moving. Too many acts are concerned with mainstream expectation and fitting into moulds they negate the vitality of passion, power and originality. Here we get a real burst of life and colour that catches you by surprise and takes the song up a notch. Juxtaposing and contrasting the fiery chorus; Set a Fire calms at the 1:30 marker, allowing the mood to restrain and settle. It also allows our leads to soothe and harmonise and give the track a moment of contemplation. Wordless vocals and acoustic strings melt together beautifully to create something melodic and gentle. Images and thoughts of graves and resurrection are reintroduced as the song starts to pick up again. At every stage you picture the scenes and dreams unfolding. Our leads are battling demons and egos; the strains and fights of love and completion. Maybe I am over-analysing but I feel this song emanates from personal backstory and something that has left its scars. The conviction and strength of the vocals ensures everything sounds essential and completely natural. “Burn your house down that you built” and “So set a fire to your soul” are repeated as mantras that become more compelling with each presentation. It appears the song’s anti-hero has not been as nourishing and fair-minded as they could be. Causing perturbation and heartache, the song is a rebellious kick. At its core, Set a Fire is redemptive and uplifting. There is a lot of hope at its core and an overwhelming soulfulness and sense of beauty. By the closing notes the myriad avenues and stunning moments spiral around your mind. It will take a few listens to control and discipline the song’s layers and passions, but once you do, the rewards are staggering.
In a music industry where there is idle economy and fluctuating quality, the likes of These Your Children should be put in focus. Too many renowned and established artists are either suffering dwindling returns or are not expanding their sound enough. There are some great acts about in the underground that should be heralded and promoted. The Baxter and Prance blend works wonderfully throughout Set a Fire. Both performers have sensual and gorgeous tones that are capable of incandescent burst and power. When they unite (in the chorus) you get the most intense and dramatic representation of their shared talent. When each singer takes a lead, you get a great insight into their unique perspectives and vocals. Whilst Rebeka Prance seduces with her chocolate soulfulness and captivating beauty, Joe Baxter is no second-fiddle or minor voice- matching Prance in terms of beauty, soul and power. Were it just for the vocals and you’d have a so-so song. With such terrific songwriting and production, it means Set a Fire is a triumphant and memorable cut. One of this year’s most vivacious and surprising moments, it means I will follow These Your Children with a heady and curious passion. Few duos have such a connection and instant quality. With their debut E.P. forthcoming, I am amazed at the depth and conviction of their music- free of nerves and any sense of anxiety. With such a proclamation and gauntlet thrown down, their contemporaries could learn a thing or two. If you have not discovered the Nottingham act, make sure you take some time out to discover something genuinely special. This year has produced intermittent quality and few startling moments. As 2016 comes into view, we need to keep alert of the up-and-coming gems of music. These Your Children are in the embryonic stages of their careers, yet all the signs are positive and gleaming. Vibrant and emotional layers sit effortlessly with scintillating vocal byplay and tribal beats. A joyous duo with many years ahead of them.
Having investigated Set a Fire and Fires, the non-fire-related half of their E.P. is yet to come. The duo has teased and tanitlised public expectations with two terrific and promising tracks. I cannot wait to witness what is to come and what Fires will produce. On the evidence of what they have put out, These Your Children are going to go very far. I have mentioned Graceland before- and it may seem like a stretch perhaps- but I can see them releasing a similar album. Whilst Simon’s masterpiece was a brave political move and daring- playing with African musicians during Apartheid- the sounds and textures of that album stand out the most. Although These Your Children are in their infancy, I can see them expanding their sounds a little. Maybe a full-length record will see them combining with African musicians and introducing Graceland-esque elements into the fold. What Fires will showcase is a duo that is among the most potent and impressive we have at the moment. Those delirious and heart-melting vocals are just the start of things. Dig deeper and you get spades of nuance and quality that cannot be denied. At the heart of everything is a contemporary and upbeat vibe. The duo does not like to introspect too much and bring the mood down. The sprite and pulsating percussion beats blend with the passionate and resonating vocals. What we can guarantee for the future is more music from the stunning duo. Although they are making their first moves, the early signs are exceptional and hugely impressive. Few artists come onto the scene with such purpose and passion. Perhaps it is that original and unique fusion of sounds and influences that makes them such a proposition. Maybe it is the chemistry and intuition the duo share. Whatever the secret, you cannot deny how special the duo is. Fires is an E.P. that will mark them out as one of the U.K.’s most special and awe-inspiring musical acts. Before I complete the review, I want to bring in issues of commercial pressure, African music and duos. There are a lot of duos coming through in the U.K., each offering their own sensibility and direction. I find that most duos are not as experimental and original as solo acts, perhaps. Too many duos focus on Electro.-Pop and Pop. There tends not to be a huge amount of innovation beyond the boundaries of Pop and Rock. I would love to see more These Your Children-esque duos come through that take the time to bring us something subversive and beguiling. What you get from this duo is something brimming with confidence and free of anxiety and uncertainty. Throughout Set a Fire I was struck at how natural and urgent it all sounded. Most new acts come off as slightly unsure and overly-cautious, yet this was not the case here. It is as though the duo has been performing for years and already had a huge public backing. You can probably ascribe the confidence and assuredness to a natural bond between the duo. Prance and Baxter have a chemistry and connection that is not forced and cannot really be understated. The duo has studied music and certainly knows the market and what is expected. When it comes to their own sounds, These Your Children do not fit into moulds and have few direct comparisons. There are some acts that unite African beats and influences with something modern- they are few and far between. It is really just left for me to predict their future and have a look at what is to come. The two-piece have a vital London gig upcoming at The Bodega. They will launch their E.P. that night before St. Pancras Old Church six days later. It is a busy and great time for them and it is best you get on board now. Make sure you snap up the duo’s E.P. and take in all it has to offer. Set a Fire is one of the most impressive, immediate and nuanced tracks I have heard this year, so I am going to stick with the two very closely. There are few acts that deliver such a heady mixture of delirious vocals and rushing melodies. Those primal beats and stunning messages dig inside your head and keep revealing their meanings and beauty across time. It is a rather uncertain and windy day, so we all need a bit of comfort and great music. If you are looking for something new and glorious; an act that stick in the imagination and make you want to hear more, then look no further. The Nottingham-formed These Your Children are on a quest to seduce and capture the public’s hearts and minds. With Fires about the burn and explode, let Set a Fire play and discover all of its colour, detail and glory. With the wind howling and light fading, when it comes to it, there are few better ways…
TO spend the day.
Follow These Your Children: