Goldenboy – Sleepwalker

January 01, 1970

(Eenie Meenie )

 

www.eeniemeenie.com

 

Former Spain
multi-instrumentalist Shon Sullivan earned his nickname and band moniker –
Goldenboy – playing in Elliot Smith’s band for four years, and his own project doesn’t
veer far from the ill-fated Smith’s wistful pop orbit or Spain’s
brooding blue moods. Sullivan’s third solo effort continues in the vein of his
first two releases, 2003’s Blue Swan
Orchestra
and 2006’s Underneath the
Radio
, sharpening the songwriting into a dozen indie pop nuggets whose
charm is too-often undercut by album-long understatement.

 

You get a good indication of Sullivan’s approach with a song like
“Rock & Roll All Night,” which neither rocks nor rolls, but instead shuffles
quickly and harmlessly through minor-key shadows. The playful piano of “Chelsea
Girl” and elegiac “Lilac Afternoon” (which divvies the difference between
late-60s icons Ray Davies and Paul McCartney), echo the same 60s and early 70s
Brit-pop vibe that Smith tapped into for inspiration, but Sullivan lacks the
urgency of Smith’s vocals or lyrical sophistication. Other tracks tilt toward Spain, though here
Sullivan wisely pushes the pace on the synth and nylon-acoustic-powered “He
Liked Cloudy Weather,” and splashes horns over “Body and Soul” to give the
quickened tempo needed textures.

 

Sullivan stretches out a couple times, and the effect cuts both ways;
the 90-second guitar outro at the end of “Body and Soul” mirrors the frenetic guitar
lead on the bridge of “I LIke You Because,” and both make you wish he’d push
past pop-song format more often. As it is, they generate needed contrast, but not
quite enough, and stand out like brightly colored orchids in a field of pretty
daisies. Sleepwalker could, in the
end, benefit from a few more wake-up calls.

 

DOWNLOAD: “She Belongs to
Me” “He Liked Cloudy Weather” JOHN SCHACHT

 

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