Don’t listen to Golden Boy Vol. I and Vol. II if you’re looking for something cheerful and uplifting. Stan Woodhouse, better known to the Auckland and Melbourne music worlds as Skyscraper Stan, has released an album — a proper, old-fashioned, side-one-and-side-two album — of slices of all-too-real life set to his trademark folk-blues-rock.
Golden Boy is released digitally, of course, but Stan has assembled the set as a record of two sides, with side 1 what Stan told Crave! is “the more aggressive side of the record,” more driving, more minor-chord songs, while side 2, the music slightly more upbeat and major-key, has an autobiographical flavour.
What this translates to is songs like Talking About The Weather (While The House Burns Down,” a zippy number that owes a definite debt to the Eagles, Stan’s cousin Oskar Herbig’s electric-guitar licks more than slightly echoing songs like Already Gone, Hammond-esque keyboard skirls swirling around in the background as Stan signs about being “the salt in your paper cut, the cigarette butt in the wishing well.”
But it’s not all upbeat cheerful stuff. Album opener Dole Queues And Dunhill Blues is a mid-paced electric groove with a faint hint of a reggae rhythm bubbling under the surface, and it’s bleak, Woodhouse’s voice, a warm baritone, telling us about “drinking bottom-shelf Bourbon from the can, lukewarm.”
Don’t, however, take familiarity to mean sameness. Some of the songs on Golden Boy — Dancing On My Own Grave, for example, or Doorbell, which appears on Live At Some Velvet Morning, are regular features of Stan’s live show — you might have heard before, and overall Golden Boy doesn’t represent a massive departure from the furrow Skyscraper Stan has been ploughing for quite some time now, but it’s full of engaging, enjoyable songs that come from a very personal place in a quite special songwriter’s heart.
Golden Boy Vol. I and Vol. II by Skyscraper Stan is available today from all your favourite online music sources.