Somebody’s Child has quickly established himself as a voice at the forefront of the new music scene in Ireland, ever since singer-songwriter Cian Godfrey launched the project with a slew of great indie-pop singles in 2018-2019. Early support slots in Dublin with the likes of Kodaline, Primal Scream and Kaiser Chiefs, as well as national radio play and an appearance on the nation’s beloved Late Late Show all acted as vindication for Godfrey holding back the unveiling of SC until the relatively late age of 23 – he had honed his craft and formulated a clear message ahead of time.
Indeed, the inception of Somebody’s Child had been some years in the making. Growing up in Paris in the late 90s / early 00s, a young Godfrey was pushed into playing piano, with little other exposure to music aside from his father’s small record collection featuring the likes of Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits. Leaving school, Godfrey passed on entering an engineering course and decided to attend a music college in Dublin instead (“the lesser of evils”) which ultimately gave him the time he needed to develop an obsession and formulate an idea. It was here where SC first came into fruition. Initially, it was just a vehicle with which to write songs for others – the “vanity” of the entertainment industry being a turn off. Latterly, it evolved into the fully-fledged, public-facing indie rock outfit as we see it today after band members joined one by one and fate put Godfrey and the front and centre of it all.
The notoriety generated by the early releases wasn’t confined to the Emerald Isle – the UK’s interest in particular had been piqued by Godfrey’s way with a chorus, apparent crossover potential and early comparisons to Tame Impala and Arctic Monkeys. The 20-Something EP, released during worldwide lockdown in 2020, was perhaps the best manifestation of this – containing the streaming hit singles “Hold Me Like You Wanna” and “We Could Start a War”, it helped to significantly grow SC’s audience both at home and abroad and won Godfrey his first airplay on stations such as BBC Radio 1 and Radio X, and nods on numerous high-profile Spotify playlists. Never one to rest on his laurels, two EPs followed in quick succession (2021’s Hope, Amongst Other Things and Staying Sane), and when Somebody’s Child was finally able to perform his first headline tour of the UK and Ireland in late 2021, the shows witnessed large crowds of enthusiastic fans and an atmosphere of celebration.
SC’s long-awaited debut album was recorded at East London’s Hackney Road Studios with the producer Mikko Gordon (Arcade Fire, The Smile) following a deal with the US indie label Frenchkiss Records (The Drums, Passion Pit) in early 2022. Moving away from Ireland briefly for this process was important to Godfrey and his bandmates; it represented a change to the everyday – much needed after an elongated writing process in and out of various Covid lockdowns – and a chance to be immersed in a bustling metropolis home to many people they look up to and admire musically. “We’ve always felt a synergy with the UK musically,” Godfrey says. “It felt apt to create the album in a place that is home to many of our influences.”
Nevertheless, the album is one with its roots firmly back across the Irish Sea – it explores Godfrey’s formative years growing up in Dublin and the experiences that went with that. With music often said to be a product of its environment, Godfrey is keen to impress upon listeners an image of a modern, progessive Ireland – albeit one with an ongoing housing crisis – and not the stereotypical one often portrayed by foreign media. “We’re not all smoking cigarettes, drinking Guinness around a candle in some pub reading Joyce. We’re a forward thinking group of people who are struggling to afford to live in the place we’re from. This album has been my escape”.
Containing songs old and new, the LP acts as touchstone for where Somebody’s Child is today – looking steadfastly towards the future whilst acknowledging what has got him to this point. Thematically, it’s a melting pot of the band’s influences – ‘80s synth sounds inspired by The Cure and Joy Division and guitar riffs which recall the mid/late 2000s indie rock of Arctic Monkeys and Foals. “It’s a culmination of a lot of different areas and styles, but comes together under the same sonic heading,” Godfrey explains. “The album is the idea of the ‘80s rolling into the ‘00s in 2022.”
The analogue synth sounds (the same ones populuarised by legendary Greek composer Vangelis) are something consistent to all the songs on the record – this was a manifestation of Godfrey’s idea to give the album an overarching Blade Runner theme in keeping with their ‘80s influence. Godfrey elaborates: “We used to have this poster in the writing room of Blade Runner, and we wanted to achieve this awareness of the cyclical nature of music while exploring psychoacoustic elements”.
The “unapologetically loud” first single ‘Broken Record’ sets out his stall perfectly – perhaps as direct as SC has ever sounded, it’s a song of lament juxtaposed with a stadium-ready chorus. “Stay” is an indie-pop song for the ages – something with universal appeal whilst giving a firm nod to the band’s roots (“won’t you come out in Dublin just for the night?” Godfrey sings invitingly). The adrenaline rush of “Sell Out”, with its in-your-face guitars, is sure to be a fixture on the live setlist for some time to come. Where does Somebody’s Child sit then, in the current musical landscape? “We’re not trying to be rock demigods. Our music is designed for everyone and we pride ourselves on that. Music doesn’t have to be exclusive to be cool.” Godfrey continues: “Even the snobs can listen to our music”.
Catchy and life-affirming songs aside, what does it all mean? Godfrey is keen to emphasize it’s all about the listener and what they might take from it. “Most of all, I want my music to help people who are struggling. I struggled with anxiety and panic attacks and music grounded me, so I would like to think my music could help change someone’s life too”.
Somebody’s Child’s self-titled debut album will be released on February 3rd, 2023.
Publicity Contact: Lisa Gottheil