There was a time. It was so long – so long – ago, but there was a time. A time of packed pubs, heaving festival moshpits, loud guitars, churning bass, walloping drums. The kind of riffs that can set entire fields into a seismic bounce, with choruses designed to be sung en masse with index fingers raised in perfect syncopation. After a year where the lion’s share of it was spent without live music in the traditional sense, times like this feel both distant and impossible. This was, however, a time where a band like Australian trio, Children Collide thrived – and with their imminent return and a new album on the horizon, there’s hope that there can be a time like that again.
In 2019, after a seven year hiatus, the band returned with their post-punk single “Aurora” – the first official taste of what we now know as Time Itself, the first Children Collide album in nearly a decade. By December 2019 and throughout the early stages of 2020 with new bassist, Chelsea Wheatley in tow, it was as if Children Collide had never left.
Recorded by Loren Humphrey at Diamond Mine & Stockholm Syndrome in New York City, Children Collide’s highly anticipated fourth studio album is out 27 August on Spinning Top Records (Pond, Haiku Hands, Gum). Time Itself is a complex and provocative rock record that explores wider spectrums and multitudes with the kind of fearlessness that put Children Collide on the map to begin with.
Of course, Children Collide’s 2020 didn’t go to plan. No-one’s did. They were, however, able to share another cut from the record in the year’s second half: The Sonic Youth-inspired “Funeral for a Ghost.” Johnny Mackay, the band’s lead singer, guitarist and founding member, recalls its origins from when he was living in a literal North Melbourne dungeon. “You had to open a trap door to get down to my room and you could see where a tunnel had been bricked up on my bedroom wall,” he says. He also couldn’t have predicted the timely nature of his lyrics: “They sound like I wrote them last week about COVID conspiracy nuts,” he jokes. “Time is a flat circle.” Both singles are emblematic of what to expect from Time Itself – but even then, only to a degree.
Other tracks on their new album include the Nirvana-esque “Return to Femmes,” the fuzzed-out charge of opener “Man of the People” and the twirling, acid-tinged “Trampoline” – the latter of which Mackay proudly describes as “one of my favourite songs I’ve ever written.” The sprawling six-and-a-half-minute wig-out of “Mind Spider,” too, serves as a strange bedfellow to their latest single, the bouncy, mosh-ready “Uh Oh” – and yet, all of them make perfect sense as Children Collide songs.
Time Itself follows the twice ARIA-nominated band’s third studio album Monument, released in 2012. It was another enduringly popular LP, following 2008‘s The Long Now and 2010’s Theory Of Everything, which debuted at #5 on the ARIA album chart and claimed the triple j feature album.
Children Collide have played sets at SXSW, The Great Escape, Splendour in the Grass, Falls Festival, Groovin The Moo and the Big Day Out. They’ve performed countless sold-out headline shows across the nation in addition to dates in London, Paris, LA, New York and Tokyo.