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The Memory Machine

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 5, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

The Memory Machine by Julia Stone
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 5, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nettwerk
  • Run Time: 43 minutes
  • ASIN: B0044UHQ9A
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,502 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Anyone who has been reading my reviews on a fairly regular basis might remember my shock at the brilliance of Angus & Julia Stone's album, Down the Way. At the time, I didn't quite give it the credit it deserved, but having listened to it many times since, it is truly one of my favorite albums of the year and most certainly one of the biggest non-debut surprise greats I've ever come across.

Now, less than a year later, Julia Stone has released an album of solo material without the addition of her brother. Fans of her work with Angus will instantly recognize her slightly wavering, wispy vocals that haunt each track with an incredible beauty. Although drums and strings are occasionally added to the mix, the true concentration of the instrumentation is on either the acoustic guitar or piano depending on the track.

Opening with "This Love," Julia introduces her solo material with the song most similar to her work with her brother. Although harmonies are still present on the chorus, her voice is manipulated very little otherwise, leaving the lyrics crisp and clear within the mix. This continues through the first three tracks until the title track, "The Memory Machine," on which Julia introduces some more reverb to her voice, adding to the dreamy state of the song.

Julia's solo career potential is most clearly displayed on "Catastrophe." An upbeat blend of guitar, strings, brass, and drums transform Julia's often sad sounding vocals into something sweet and cheerful. Although the title suggests differently, the track is truly a high point in the mood of the album and falling halfway along the record, it serves as a pleasant break from the otherwise blue notes. This change proves she is clearly capable of success in more than one style.
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Format: Audio CD
Sydney's Julia Stone might be best known for her work with brother Angus Stone, but there were certainly more than a few of us in the independent music community that were waiting for her to spread her wings and attempt a solo record. That time comes with "The Memory Machine", her debut solo record, and gone are any traces of her brothers' influence, and this does not at all sound like any of her previous albums. That in itself, is both a pro and a con, considering that critics half-expected this to be very much a Family Stone sort of affair.

Julia Stone's strengths all lie in her voice and her hushed sense of melancholy. While the album cover (an inspired piece of pop-art if there ever was one) implies a more violent, enraged sort of musical sentiment, the album itself is a quiet, stripped down affair, letting Stone's voice do the talking; to such an extent that might try the patience of certain audiences. If you have no idea of the musical background of Julia Stone and are approaching this as an introduction to her work, I'm not sure this record would work for you, but as a natural progression from her regular work with her brother, this works on its' own terms.

On "Maybe", which slows down the pace of the record entirely, Julia sparkles, but not in a happy way. Many of these tracks are morose. Even the poppier tracks such as `Catastrophe' are about morose things; it would be safe to say that the message of the record is sadness and the overall mood is one of doom. This is very much in keeping with some of her past work, but one would tend to agree that the record could have done with a few moments of levity to cut through the ubiquitous bleakness.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Julia Stone has the most amazing voice, a voice you can listen to day in and day out, and never get bored. The lyrics of her songs are amazing, my favorite is track number 2 "My Baby". The words on Track 3 "Winter on the Weekend" should be listened to by every father - it sends chills up and down your spine. An album where every number is great, you do not have to skip tracks. Amazing - thank you.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Angus & Julia Stone for a few years now and just recently saw them live (a must). This album lived up to the song quality I was expecting. I would also suggest taking a listen to Angus' solo album (under the name Lady of the Sunshine). If you like her other work with her brother, just buy this album. It's that simple. I really wish this was available on vinyl, though.
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