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Favourite Sons

Down Beside Your Beauty

Favourite Sons is the musical vehicle of Ken Griffin, an Irish-born vocalist who fronted the sorely overlooked dream-pop band Rollerskate Skinny in the '90s, and members of the Philly-based indie space-rock band Aspera, who had recently separated from their vocalist. In 2004 the reclusive Griffin was working at a New York City bar, having all but abandoned his desire to play music. (His last effort, playing with Kid Silver, came in 1999.) Yet when a fan (a soon-to-be band mate) recognized Griffin, he convinced him to write some material and invited him down to his group's practice space. Within a matter of weeks of forming, Favourite Sons was born, and the band was immediately signed to Vice, who just released the band's debut, Down Beside Your Beauty. Despite a more than five-year absence from the music scene, Griffin's profoundly supple voice and emotional, lethal lyricism are in top form.

Down Beside Your Beauty treads heavily on the bold, romantic sound Roxy Music was making in the mid-'70s and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are making today. So it may come as no surprise that Griffin's slinky vocal swagger evokes Bryan Ferry and Nick Cave throughout, most notably on the stomping title track. Like Cave, Griffin wraps his lyrics around death and love (or lack thereof). One of the strongest songs on the album, "The Tall Grass," explores these themes with dramatic results: "And if I die in the tall grass dreaming, I hope I'm dreaming of you/ and if I die in the tall grass bleeding, I hope I'm bleeding for you." Although the first two songs are simply okay, be patient, dear listener. By the time you get to "'Round Here" and the single "Hang On Girl," Favourite Sons will already be seeping into your veins, and heading straight for your heart.

 
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