If I didn't know that this album was just released,
I'd swear it was a lost sixties folk-pop classic.
Cantinero leader Chris Hinken led an overlooked
90s band called Bigmouth (you can see our review of that band's 1998
self-titled release on our record reviews menu). His new group is
more delicate, more heartfelt, but even more arresting.
Championship Boxing sounds as retro as its
cover looks, but that's a positive in this case. The tunes skip on an
acoustic vibe that seems weirdly timeless. "The Machine" is a lovely ballad which vaguely echoes
Ferrante and Teicher's "Theme from Midnight Cowboy." Also
impressive is the sweet melancholy of "Happy When I'm Down" or the Beatle-esque
psychedelia of "Make Me An Offer."
The feeling of quietly strummed folk is augmented by a
good dollop of rock instrumentation, like the Lou-Reed-inspired proto-rap of
"Tuesday" and the lovely piano-driven pop of "That Guy."
If you've been waiting around for the next Nick Drake,
you could do a whole lot worse than checking out Championship Boxing.