May 11, 2008

The Child Ballads: Cheekbone Hollows Pop. ½ Life

The Child Ballads
Cheekbone Hollows (POP. ½ Life)
Gypsy Eyes Records

There’s a loose, slack groove that slides like slippers on a hardwood floor as soon as this fine 6 track EP starts up. Opening with the title track “Cheekbone Hollows (POP. ½ Life)”, former Jonathan Fire*Eater front man Stewart Lupton comes on like the best possible amalgamation of Lou Reed and Mick Jagger – while your feet are dancing to the shuffling groove your head is singing with the lyrical verse. There’s a lot of great shuffling on the record… and loosely strummed acoustic guitar, Lupton hadn’t wasted his time since the implosion of JF*E, he went to university where he studied modern art history and poetry, he even learned to play acoustic guitar. This final point may explain the bare, chord based songs, songs that benefit greatly from Lupton’s vocal and lyrical flair. Lupton can sound like ‘Jagger as New Yorker’ (even if Lupton is from Washington DC) which is fitting as a number of songs exhibit the loose limbed junkie shuffle that Keith Richards nearly owns. Give “Laughter From The Rafters” a listen; it shines with electric lead from good friend Judah Bauer of the John Spencer Blues Explosion. And speaking of guest support, the EP balances the aforementioned ‘shine’ with the grainy shadows drawn across several songs by Betsy Wright’s viola.

Cheekbone Hollows (POP. ½ Life) is the encouraging first step by Lupton towards the greatness expected of him in the ‘90s with JF*E. Now I’ve got to get some slippers, a hardwood floor, and some room to dance.

cheekbone hollows [mp3]
laughter from the rafters [mp3]


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