Album Review: Manwomanchild – Awkward Island

Summer has been a rather humid affair this year. It’s hard to get out and enjoy the weather when all you have to do to work up a sweat is breathe. I’ve been on the lookout for breezy summer music to help battle the heat and was lucky enough to find Philadelphia’s Manwomanchild fronted by David Child. Their new album, Awkward Island, is packed with fun jams that make it easy to forget the heat and get out to enjoy summer while it’s here.

Opening track, “I Know a Man,” feels like it came right out of the 60’s with a catchy guitar hook and harmonious vocals. Upon my first listen, I found myself unable to resist the classic meets modern pop rock sounds of Manwomanchild. I needed to drop everything I was doing and just take the time to drown myself in the album.

Childs continues to play with old with new sounds on “The Retreat.” While the verses are pure bubbly pop, the choruses are filled with a wonderful, 70’s garage rock vibe. It’s hard for me to pinpoint a favorite track on Awkward Island, but at this very moment it would have to be “The Retreat.”

Childs seems to have a knack for mixing the rock and pop sounds of the last 50+ years into his songs while making it all sound fresh. My first impression of the album was Belle and Sebastian, but as I revisit the album, I can hear the likes of Bowie and even Devo peeking through as well.

Upon a first listen, Awkward Island sounds effortlessly put together. It isn’t until you really take a moment to take the album in that you can hear all the intricacies layered throughout the ten tracks that took Childs five years to record. The fact that I can hear new things even half a dozen times in tells me that this album will continue to feel fresh for a long time. It may be sweltering outside, but as long as I have a fan pointed at me and Awkward Island playing through my headphones I can feel like I’m basking in the cool breeze of one of Michigan’s great lakes while I lounge on the beach.

Make sure to snag a copy of Awkward Island from Amazon, Bandcamp, Google, or iTunes.