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Sleepwalker by Goldenboy

An alarming crying sound which produces a much softer explosion than the first seconds would have let suppose, is followed by galloping guitars in ‘Different Moon’, the opening track of the new and third Goldenboy’s album ‘Sleepwalker’. All along the album, many of the uplifting-sounding songs dig into a heavy dose of melancholy, which is constantly floating at the surface.

The bright and crisp guitars of ‘He liked Cloudy Weather’ carries a little bit of some ‘Stephanie-says-like pretty moments, and it cannot be a coincidence if the two previous songs are entitled ‘Chelsea Girl’ and ‘Anna Said’.
Later on, the heartbeat-like rhythm of ‘Body and Soul’ runs smoothly through the song before bursting with vibrant horns, and then draining the ride into a darker place with plaintive guitars.
The soothing harmonies of ‘I like you because’ which stretch into a scenic drive through nervous guitars, contrast with the jumping piano of ‘Chelsea Girl’, a sort of tamed down crocodile rock, or the bouncing one of ‘Lilac Afternoon’, a sunny-afternoon-kind-of-song, or even the poppy hazy sound of ‘Sparks’.
That is to say that there is a certain eclecticism throughout the 12 songs going from glorious ambiance to nostalgia-bound tracks, but at the end all bounded by Shon Sullivan’s breathing voice.
Sure it is not exactly experimental rock and they are a few famous shadows bent over this album: Shon Sullivan has opened in the past for Bright Eyes, Stephen Malkmus, and Grandaddy, and has toured with Spain and Elliott Smith (who basically baptized him Goldenboy because of his ability to jump effortless from piano, guitar and cello), and you may hear,  in the distance, some of these influences and others all over the album, especially the in-your-ear-whispering Smith’s style, which creates a real intimacy. As a matter of fact Sleepwalker was mastered and sequenced by engineer Don Tyler, who mastered all of Elliott Smith’s albums.

The album ends (not exactly because there is a bonus track) with the title track ‘Sleepwalker’, which was composed when Sullivan found in a friend’s house in Italy, an old 16mm film showing kids playing on the beach,… a sort of time machine carrying enough nostalgia to inspire a melancholic looping lullaby, sung with a falsetto voice. Nostalgia is a powerful thing.

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