New Audio: The 60s Bubblegum-Leaning Pop Sound of Philadelphia’s Manwomanchild

Fronted by primary songwriter David Childs, the Philadelphia, PA-based rock band Manwomanchild can trace their origins to when the band originally formed in Rhode Island, back in 2008. With a lineup comprised of David Child (vocals, guitar and synths), Mason Neely (drums) and Craig Gifford (bass), the trio recorded their self-titled debut EP in February 2010, and they received international attention after the release of “Chile, La Roja,”a song specifically written to show support for Chile’s Men’s National Soccer team during the 2010 World Cup; in fact, the song was featured in 4 national newspapers and 2 national TV stations across Chile.

A couple of years after the release of their self-titled full-length debut at the end of 2010, the band relocated to Philadelphia, and since their relocation the band wrote and recorded the soundtrack for Decidedly’s mobile game, Floyd’s Worthwhile Endeavor — and the band’s last single “The Difficult Years” was released to praise from the music blog Surviving the Golden Age.

The band’s latest single “Return to Ithaca” sounds as though it were inspired by early 60s mod-era British rock — in particular, think of The Kinks — as the song pairs a pretty and hummable little melody with a bubblegum pop-leaning wistful hook reminiscent of “Video Killed the Radio Star” and The Kinks’ “I Go To Sleep” but somehow a little bit breezier. At the song’s core is the sort of wistful nostalgia that should be familiar to most of us — a familiar and beloved part of our lives and pasts getting torn down in the face of relentless progress. But the song also suggests that all things must pass and that life does as it always does — push you forward.

More important, “Return to Ithaca” is an time-specific example of finely crafted pop, complete with vivid novelistic imagery — you can practically picture yourself walking along the Charles River in Cambridge, MA with the same observations and thoughts of the song’s wistful narrator.