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Angus & Julia Stone ‘Down The Way’

As fans of Angus & Julia Stone‘s debut album, ‘A Book Like This‘, Rivmixx was a little taken back upon the first play of their new release ‘Down The Way.’ This Aussie brother and sister duo came to be much loved in the UK, thanks to their delicate, understated popfolk – their appeal lied in the simplicity of their songwriting and production. ‘Down The Way‘ contains a fuller sound, a slightly electrified direction with an expanded band and more polished production, which sparked a worry  that the intimacy we fell in love with may have been lost.

Down The Way‘ was written and recorded in numerous locations around the globe – including a riverside sawmill in Cornwall and a water tank in Coolangatta (Australia) – and sees the siblings undertake production duties for the first time. The end result is a compilation of different moods and paces. As well as splitting the vocals evenly amongst themselves, Angus & Julia Stone famously keep their songwriting separate, which means each track is, essentially, either an Angus Stone or a Julia Stone solo song.

On their debut, Angus‘ offerings tended to be a little more mediocre in comparison to Julia‘s, predominantly because his everyman vocals (that sound scarily like Tom McRae) had a habit of taking a back seat to Julia‘s beautiful and distinctive voice. His more guitar-driven side project, Lady of the Sunshine, seems to have had a lasting effect on his songwriting, though, since the majority of his songs are larger and more atmospheric than before. For example, the building, Damien Rice inspired ‘Draw Your Swords‘ sees him really show off his singing capabilities.

Julia’s tracks are what make the duo standout, and that’s simply because of the emotional power her fractured, childlike singing voice conveys. Opener ‘Hold On‘ is a slow, layered rock-ballad with rich orchestration – unlike anything on their first album Elsewhere, her songwriting maintains the sweetness of her older compositions, but sounds slicker thanks to the added strings and more prominent drum production. First single ‘And The Boys‘ will please longtime fans with its bouncy acoustic guitars and playful melody. However, Julia has always been at her most pleasing when she cries over sad,acousticpop, and this record is no different; just listen to ‘For You‘ and ‘Walk It Off.’

Angus and Julie Stone‘s uncomplicated debut was charmingly sad, with naive lyrics delivered with the innocence of youth. ‘Down The Way‘ is still sad, acousticpop music, but the added musical layers and heavier sound makes for a more depressing, rather than wistful, feel. That being said, they have grown up, both in experience as well as artistry. Whereas Angus & Julia captured the sound of breezy, adolescent sadness on their first album, here they have captured a more serious sounding melancholy. Fans will, in time, come to cherish this album as much as ‘A Book Like This.’

Tracklist: Angus & Julia Stone – Down The Way

01 Hold On
02 Black Crow
03 For You
04 Big Jet Plane
05 Santa Monica Dream
06 Yellow Brick Road
07 And The Boys
08 On The Road
09 Walk It Off
10 Hush
11 Draw Your Swords
12 I’m Not Yours
13 The Devil’s Tears

Originally published by Rivmixx here

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~ by cliveparisrozario on March 26, 2010.

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