Review: Skyscraper Stan – Golden Boy Vol I and II

This album was somewhat of a surprise. I truly did not know what to expect, but what I got was a brilliant album full of some dark stories about everyday people and life. Golden Boy is Skyscraper Stan’s second full-length album and he might have set the bar pretty high with this one. Golden Boy consists of ten tracks, broken into two groups of five, thus forming Volume I and Volume II. Both volumes are essential and together they form a near perfect album.

Try to imagine Stan Ridgeway, Daniel Romano, Nick Cave and Otis Redding working together in a band. The sound they would make would probably sound close to this album.  Stan has assembled an album full of so many different sounds, it is like listening to a very good compilation album of various artists. But the songs all fit together like a puzzle, just not a puzzle you would want your kids to put together. “They’ve boarded up the strip club just to teach us to behave/Now I see lawyers and auctioneers, doing what they do,” he sings in “Flag Of Progress”, lyrics that Alex Cameron would love to have written.

This is an intelligent album with great musicianship. Skyscraper Stan invites you into his world through his stories and, God help you, you want to stay and hear more and more. The main complaint with the album is that it should have been longer.

Backed by the brilliant Commission Flats, Stan sings about the world today, so it is not all pretty. The music suits the lyrics perfectly and the album is extremely well produced. Listen to the violin in the last track, “A Man Misunderstood”, and how it is used to accentuate certain lines of the song. It is those moments that send chills down your back.

There is a lot of fantastic music coming out of Australia these days. While influenced by the sounds of other countries and genres, a lot of music coming out Australia is really its own style. This can be said for Golden Boy: Vol I and Vol II. Sure you will hear influences (I swear the opening track “Dole Queues and Dunhill Blues” sounds like a long lost rockabilly/country song from Talking Heads) but Stan takes all of those influences and meshes them into his own sound.