Shon Sullivan began writing the first Goldenboy album while he was on tour playing for Elliott Smith almost 10 years ago. Smith actually coined “Goldenboy” as a nickname for Sullivan. Since then, Goldenboy’s added some full-time members, but the singer-songwriter feel still lingers on their latest record, Sleepwalker.
Much of the album takes cues from artists like Smith or Grandaddy, with Sullivan’s breathy vocals featured prominently throughout. The piano riffs, like the upbeat pop of “Chelsea Girl,” save the album from relying too heavily on acoustic guitars. The light and jazzy keys of “Lilac Afternoon” recall Nick Drake’s more upbeat moments on Bryter Layter. “Body and Soul” also keeps things fresh with its shimmering guitars and brilliant trumpet solo. The singer-songwriter album has been done to death, but Goldenboy has all the right tricks up its sleeve to keep it interesting.
(Eenie Meenie Records, PO Box 619397, Los Angeles, CA 90069)