Angus & Julia Stone: Self-titled

5 Dec

?Down The Way (2010) slotted Angus & Julia Stone neatly into the “over-emotional romantic music” section of my mind. Angus & Julia Stone warrants reclassification.

Angus and Julia Stone have always been skilled songwriters, instrumentalists, and vocalists, but with their self-titled album, it’s as though the brother-sister pair started listening to Arctic Monkeys and bought themselves some black eyeliner, exuding contrast and sharp edges to bring their music out of its airy, sugary haze.

The beats are stronger, the instrumental parts bolder, and thanks to a liberal pinch of salt (and gall), their lyrics are weightier and more interesting.

Julia Stone’s distinctive vocals are less showy and more impressive: the vivid timbre of her voice reviving the tired talk-singing trick in “My Word For It”; understatedly bewitching in jazzy “Death Defying Acts”.

The pair have also diversified their sound. Whilst “From The Stalls” touches base with the slow-building, urgent, poignant crooning of their early work, “Little Whisky” is feel-good pop-rock; “All This Love” happy indie-pop; “A Heartbreak” moody hard rock.

Overall, I’m impressed with how Angus and Julia Stone have applied their considerable skills more broadly to produce music more complex and absorbing.

 

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