Back in the late 1990s, Stewart Lupton was poised for success with the band Jonathan Fire*eater: well-received indie releases and press acclaim were followed by the first album of their big-money alliance with David Geffen's Dreamworks, and then... nothing. Ditched because of his drug problems, Lupton now resurfaces as Childballads, with this intriguing mini-album. "We speak a dead language now, our route is through the dust," he claims on the title-track, and he may well be referring to his music, which speaks the old rock'n'roll dialect of a glorious former era, a languid raunch-rock akin to an anaemic Rolling Stones. As the album proceeds, the arrangements grow more sophisticated, with viola and electric piano colluding in a galumphing waltz for "They Hunt Us We Run", and a John Lee Hooker-style strum'n'stomp carrying "Green Jewellery". A weary tone of narcotic enervation pervades the album, but despite - or because of - the ramshackle nature of the recording, Cheekbone Hollows asserts a distinctive identity that's surprisingly engaging.
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