To put it simply: Sometimes you're happy, sometimes you're sad, and much of the time you're somewhere in between. And it's good -- very good -- to have Goldenboy on hand to help navigate between these points of departure. This new Sleepwalker album you hold in your hands or view on your mobiles constitutes the fruits of Shon Sullivan's extended respite from the grind of the biz. He sounds relaxed, refreshed and fairly flowing with music. The album dovetails nicely with the understated charms of Goldenboy's first two records, though the hard-chargingly plaintive "Different Moon" starts the set on a somewhat deceptive note. There's "A different moon on the rise," Sullivan sings, which says something about his music as well: Typically untypical is the way these particular pop harmonies dart into the shade, bringing out emotional complexities never far from the surface -- and never at the expense of a really catchy pop tune. In the layered, lyrical guitars of "She Belongs to Me," or the peppy, piano-driven "Chelsea Girl," with it's classic '60s-'70s chord progressions and subtle guitar frills, there linger shades of Bowie/Mott, perhaps. It's a mood thing: "He Liked Cloudy Weather" ("the kind where you wear a sweater") is a chimes-laced very Velvets-y "Sunday Morning" vibe. There's a touching sentiment in the evocative melody and chorus of the decidedly non-headbanging "Rock and Roll All Night" (which does not much resemble a Kiss song), or in Sullivan's mere presence on "I Like You Because" ("You know everything...and you tell it to me without having to ask"); a languidity prevails, an unhurried cool behind the warmth of it's curlicue-ing slide guitar solo. On the slow, stately title track, Shon strums/picks an electric guitar, caresses mellow keyboard tones; he sings "Every night I dream of you/and there's nothing I can do" as if not wishing to wake himself from this pleasant though perhaps slightly troubling dream. Sleepwalker was recorded at Interstellar and Leaning Pine studios by Sullivan and Jon Crawford along with the band. The album was mastered and sequenced by veteran engineer Don Tyler, who had mastered all of Elliott Smith's albums. Listen closely: Tyler has given the album a glowing crackle whose hospitable tones are a welcome relief from the hectoring squall of most contemporary rock recordings. Sullivan's use of several vintage keyboards and a crystal microphone he found in a second-hand music store in Australia make songs like the wistful "Anna Said" ("It's all just a memory...") a palpably welcoming sound you never want to end. Yet his Sleepwalker songs reveal that kind of quiet fire whose pungency is powered by their brevity. An exception to the three-minute rule is "Body and Soul," which fully justifies it's four-minute-plus length in a driving mini-odyssey whose upbeat rock thump wrapped in twinkly electric guitars undergoes unusual twists in melody and harmony, again for very suggestive shifts in emotional terrain. When the trumpets twine over the melodic line, the guitar cries, like a bird flies...Nothing fancy, very affecting...just like Goldenboy.
To play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your version of Flash Player.