Glam-Rock Revisited

Aug 11, 1999 at 12:00 am

The Chamber Strings emulate the glam-rock era when Marc Bolan would strum his post-hippie mystical shit into his navel. The invention of singer-songwriter Kevin Junior, who began his career in 1987 with Mystery Girls and later the Rosehips, the Chamber Strings adhere to the lazy, stoned feeling of those early ’70s albums. Recorded in London and Chicago, Gospel Morning swims in a decadent funk, vocals on the nod like Bolan, sweet, sloppy harmonies that recall the Rolling Stones, swooping lead guitars à la Mick Ronson and bittersweet vocals that recall Junior’s main influences: the Swell Maps’ Epic Soundtracks and his brother Nikki Sudden.

Junior went so far as to move to England to work with Soundtracks for what turned out to be Epic’s final three years. An excellent student, Junior informs Gospel Morning with Soundtracks’ piano ballad misery. Weird are the two bonus covers, Bacharach and David’s oft-covered "Baby It’s You" and Penn and Oldham’s "I Pray for Rain." On both, you can hear Junior struggling to adapt these songs to his own tastes. It fills out what is a limited but heartfelt attempt by Junior to work out his obsession with things that have long since faded from view.