The truth of the matter is this. Some of the best music in the country never gets the attention that it deserves. Case in point the February LP Sleepwalker from California native Shon Sullivan. Working under the moniker Goldenboy, a title given to him by the late Elliott Smith, the album was written by Sullivan, demoed in his garage studio and later recorded with a backing band in producer Don Tayler’s SoCal studio.
From the very beginning Sleepwalker is a home-run. The twinkling keys of “Holiday,” are jaunty and bubbly as he opens with the languorous words, “I can lay in bed and play guitar today, I can stay inside or go out anyway.” And from there it only gets better. Whether it’s the jangle pop of “She Belongs To Me,” the hollowed simplicity of “Rock and Roll All Night,” or the rousing swerve of the piano-laden “Chelsea Girl,” Sleepwalker never disappoints. And yet for all these winning moments, nothing is as indelible as the brooding ballad “Anna Said,” a hazy ode to accepting defeat and moving on. Sullivan’s haunting and Brit-inspired approach to songwriting is charming and infectious and there’s a gravity at work here that trumps his contemporaries.
On the lush and rhythmic “Body and Soul,” a lounge-inspired piano-driven affair with horns aplenty. That carefree spirit is renewed on the jaunty “Lila Afternoon,” a song that is flawed only because it’s more sophisticated than it probably needs to be. Sullivan is at his best when he’s honest, forthright and totally candid, and Sleepwalker’s best example of this is the gorgeous valentine “I Like You Because,” a song that should be a playlist staple for the Y and Z generation for years to come.
He revisits simplicity and understatement in the symphonic and vernal “Spark,” and the results are nothing short of winsome, winning and wonderful. Sleepwalker is not without its flaws though. The repetitive “He Liked Cloudy Weather,” is an attempt at jangle pop that falters miserably, while the album’s closer and title track “Sleepwalker,” is far too disappointing for a closing statement. But in the end, Sleepwalker possesses enough nuggets and crowning achievements that Sullivan and Goldenboy should become a fixture in the blogosphere and beyond.