I’ll be honest that description was jarring to me, the lens with which we experience childhood is intrinsically subjective. The potential for this being an awkward, mawkish horrorshow was at the back of my mind when I hit play. I was fully prepared to find myself with a furrowed brow, exhaling slowly and muttering “ooookay”.
The good news is that the opening beats cast my reservations aside. From start to finish The Playground is a sequined bag of joyful noise. The genre blending Indie-dance-electro-synth-pop sound takes you on a journey of reactions from blissful smile through to the kind of muscle clenched snarl you’d usually find in a euphoria laced warehouse shortly before the sun comes up. Each track blends seamlessly into the next, the tone subtly shifting from bubbling excitement into something more concrete, and whilst the lyrical content does draw thematically from the influence of childhood memories it’s done with broad strokes which avoid being prescriptive or alienating the listener. It’s an absolute plus point that the vocals are mixed such that they become part of the overall soundscape rather than posing as a distraction from it.
What’s the bad news? At just shy of 30 minutes, the album isn’t long enough - and very much leaves you wanting to hear more.