‘Down The Way’ – Angus and Julia Stone.
Twinings Raspberry and Peach flavoured tea is amongst the few things I treasure in life. I know it’s probably a lame thing to ‘treasure’ tea, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. It’s pure awesome; or in Nigella Lawson language, “it is pleasantly sweet yet soft in flavour; its aroma is floaty and light yet pungent; and all marry well with its plush pink colour”. Even as I write now I’m enjoying this magnificent thing. Cheap and satisfying; ‘ahhhh’ says my bank account; unlike when my bank account said ‘yuuuuckh’ to some other crap I bought at a boutique teahouse in the Southern Highlands for $15 for 100g… In fact I am doubly lucky to have discovered another cheap soft spot of mine only recently…
My store bought album ‘Down the Way’ by Angus and Julia Stone has fast become one of my relaxants, and auspiciously so; partners quite well with my Raspberry and Peach tea.
Raspberry and Peach; Angus and Julia. Simple. Evoking. Refined. Flippant. Capricious and vicarious at times, yet smooth and delicate. Melancholy, animated and sprightly. This is a great album actually. I don’t have favourite songs on the album, its all good. However, I do prefer the songs written by Angus Stone, but maybe that’s just because my imagination runs away with me whenever I hear his voice. Dreamy…
I’ve been in touch with the might of Angus and Julia for many a year, although only upon the purchase of their newest album did I completely recognise their musical humility and talent despite their lack of technicality. I was really impressed with this album. Both Angus and Julia bring something different to their corresponding tracks, yet their different sounds and abilities couple each other and follow the same sequence on the album. It got me thinking about how they write their songs, so I went straight to Google… I watched an interview with Angus and Julia Stone by Triple J’s Vijay (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAW131ltXX0) that exposed their secret, and it turns out that they write separately, but they write so many songs that they have to use a good ol’ game of Backgammon to decide which songs go on the album… different yet intriguing with an element of fun. Nice style.
This album is a Ballad Album. Its drips with cute little love songs. Never has innocent honesty been captured so well within musicality. It encompasses soft acoustic guitar (much like Neil Young) and simple beats (it sounds like the drummer is using hot rods the whole way through the album so as to not give that ‘edge’ to the music). The bass is used sparingly and does not dominate. It emits these beautiful slippery lines, and follows the melody of the acoustic guitar really well only adding a few extra sequential notes here and there. The vocals are small and airy. Angus and Julia harmonise well and use what little vocal range they have very well. They are a perfect example of singing to your ability to create effect.
This album is probably the perfect acoustic album. Tracks like ‘The Devil’s Tears’, ‘Draw Your Swords’ and ‘Yellow Brick Road’ are quite melancholy and cute, whilst other tracks like ‘And The Boys’, ‘Big Jet Plane’ and ‘Hush’ are more up-tempo’ed and ‘poppy’, and again there are also tracks that use quite a lot of orchestral background like ‘Walk It Off’ and ‘Hold On’. So overall you get a different range of acoustic stuff on this album, whilst all tie in well with the sequential ‘ballad’ style of album.
This album is very consistent and I love every song on it, but to give you a good idea of what to expect from it, lend your ears to ‘The Devil’s Tears’, ‘Big Jet Plane’ and ‘Hush’. These songs pretty much incorporate everything else that’s on the album. I guess I lied when I said that I don’t have favourite songs on this album actually; ‘The Devil’s Tears’ and ‘Big Jet Plane’ are my favourites; but they aren’t songs that I would skip all the others just to hear; this album is extraordinary. If I were to liken Angus and Julia Stone to other artists, these are my choices; guitar of Neil Young, bass of Fleetwood Mac, the airy vocal quality of Ray Lamontagne, the simple nature of Lisa Mitchell, and the cuteness of Little Birdy. Saying this, Angus and Julia Stone are their own musical demographic; they incorporate but change, and somehow turn everything into the 60’s.
Angus and Julia Stone originated from Newport Beach on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia; about 40 minutes drive from my house actually. They are proud born and bred Aussies. My only downer on them is that they seem to portray an image that has become so overused in Sydney these days; the old-style 60’s type thing with the cute waisted dresses and pigtails, and the almost ‘boyish-bum’ look. I’m note sure if I’m a fan, but it’s a personal thing I guess.
I would love to give this album 4.5 STARS. It’s a great acoustic album, if not the best acoustic album I own. The album is light listening and fresh, and great to listen to whilst driving. In my opinion, it’s a must in everyone’s collection.