John Cunningham

Homeless House

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John Cunningham's first album in nearly five years (his fourth overall), 1998's Homeless House, is a low-key marvel of largely acoustic chamber pop. More stripped down than his earlier albums, but in no way skeletal, these songs are the strongest of Cunningham's career. The opening "Public Information Song" marries a Lennonesque verse melody to an aching falsetto chorus and fades out with an extended duet for Joe Watson's piano and Sam Hayden's trumpet. (Watson and Hayden are the album's MVPs; their contributions are largely what make this album such a pleasure to listen to.) The other seven songs continue the dreamy, fragile feel, with Cunningham's delicate, almost wispy voice and acoustic guitar making parts of Homeless House, especially "What About Now?," sound remarkably like a more upbeat Nick Drake album. Fans of Belle and Sebastian or Shack should definitely seek out this obscure but gorgeous release.

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