Caves to skyscrapers
By Chris Mineral
Skyscraper Stan’s second album Golden Boy Vol.I & Vol.II (Heart Of The Rat Records) is an absolute ripper. Music to listen to on golden days. Louisiana, 40 degrees in the shade, singing. Tennis courts, summer, central Victoria.
Back on Your Corner is a great ballad, reminiscent of the Tindersticks in the baritone vocal delivery. The film clip to the song, directed by Isabella Doherty (Polyfaces A World Of Many Choices 2015) is set in a karaoke lounge bar at the Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine and has Skycraper Stan in metamorphosis mode with static swirls of cigarette smoke, neon light. Green, red, blue lights on a mirror ball. A bit of twang in the air.
Back on Your Corner film features a cast of “rock dogs” and “MegaHertzers” crooning along to the song, starring Rex Watts, Matthew Colin, Stan Woodhouse, Monique Kerr, Briega Young, Bronte Ashworth, Sabine Pablialong et al.
Laconic vocal styling augmented and underpinned by wonderful keyboards, percussion fine and balanced. The chorus has soaring vocal delivery of The Carter Family.
Skyscraper goes major league, moving from third- to first-person narrative through the course of the song. At the conclusion of the video, there is a moment where the MC introduces Isabella to sing Sweet Child Of Mine. This Guns N’ Roses reference is paralleled in the album title that replicates the Use Your Illusion Vol. I & Vol.II
Antipodean Skyscraper Stan has always produced great material. After the debut album Last Year’s Tune in 2015, and the Tall Stories EP, where Oil City One-Step is the highlight, the next album was a solo live endeavour by Skyscraper Stan entitled Live At Some Velvet Morrning in 2017. Great southern charm music. After a great crowdfunding victory his second studio album Golden Boy is a step up to a more mature and well-balanced musical vehicle.
Doorbell mentions living on Easey St. A companion song to Doorbell in terms of lyrical content could be Men At Work’s Who Can It Be. The guitar in the coda has a ringing sustain reminiscent of Slash’s guitar in November Rain.
Dancing On My Own Grave has some poignant guitar playing that is like Chris Chapple on his It’s A Wonderful Life, and there is a "Chapplesque" understatement as well in the lyrics. The Topp Twins are an influence as well, no doubt inspiring Stan with the notion that songs can be imbued with a tremendous narrative arc. And The Topp Twins do have a great storytelling ability. The Topp Twins' Honky Tonk Angel has an uplifting, big chorus, just like Skyscraper Stan’s Back On Your Corner. This massive approach to the chorus is counterpointed with a sardonic approach in the verses. Raphael has a bass line like Niles Rogers and an interpolating guitar line like Marty Willson-Piper.
Tarcutta Days from the debut album is a song with the calibre of a Peter Allen song. Its guitar sound and playing sounds like The Church’s Peter Koppes in maximum overdrive, such as in Tantalised. And again, you can hear Slash’s guitar influence in the sustain, and the conclusion has bass playing that would fit in well with Nick Cave’s The First Born Is Dead album in terms of atmosphere.
Skyscraper Stan musos who have performed in this band include Stan Woodhouse, Oskar Herbig, pocket bass player Martin Schilov, Chris Windley, Monikah Quoi, Briega Young, Dan McKay and others. Woody Guthrie’s spirit can be found in the music of Skyscraper Stan.
The ever-versatile Stan had a song in New Zealand director Leanne Pooley’s feature length animation movie April 25. Based on the Gallipoli campaign, this movie screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015 in the Contemporary World Cinema section.
The opening track on Golden Boy is Dole Queues and Dunhill Blues and it sounds like a funkified song from a Joe Jackson concert in a loft in New York City. Talking Heads’ Remain In Light can also be heard in the vocals and angular guitar riffing lines of Dole Queues and Dunhill Blues. Kudos to producer Richard Stolz (Paul Kelly, HUSKY) from Woodstock Studios for his great production work on Golden Boy.
Flag Of Progress has some fine fingerpicking guitar with a nice bit of reverb.
Talking About The Weather (While The House Burns Down) has nice twangy guitar, subtle keyboards and some nice handclaps like Ric Ocasek and The Cars. Bound For Glory by Woody Guthrie would be one book that you could read whilst listening to Skyscraper Stan. Stan is a fan of Gillian Welch, as evidenced by his performance of Welch’s song Wayside Back In Time in a room full of guitars in Wellington, New Zealand.
Skyscraper Stan is launching Golden Boy at the Northcote Social Club on July 27 and also performing the previous night on the July 26 at the Bridge Hotel in Castlemaine.
Sunday Arvos Blues Sessions in July - Cherry Bar, AC/DC Lane, CBD
Tex Perkin’s Man In Black Johnny Cash Show August 23 and August 24 - Athenaeum Theatre
Skeggs - Forum Theatre - July 14
The Stetson Family - Bello Winter Music Festival, July 11 - 14
Melbourne International Animation Festival - Treasury Theatre, July 13 - 21
Jody Haines #IAMWOMAN - Arts House, July 10 – August 4
Didirri - 170 Russell, Friday, August 30
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory - Her Majesty’s Theatre, August
Vital Bits - Sunday Mornings on 3RRR
Saturday Evening 3CR Radio