25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Siblings all grown up,
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This review is from: Down The Way (Audio CD)
In 2007, Angus & Julia Stone released their debut record, A Book like This. With a focus on fairy tale themes and simplistic instrumentation, the album was a solid debut, but inevitably forgettable. Three years later, Angus and Julia have returned with a great deal of experience under their belts and what seems to be a lifetime of knowledge on the topics they were just beginning to understand in their debut.
Trading vocals with her brother on every other song, Julia takes the lead track with "Hold On." Her vocals are soft, airy and innocent sounding with similarities to Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O. With a lush string section reminiscent of Sia's "Breathe Me" building in the background, Angus & Julia have definitely expanded their instrumentation since their last release. The following track, "Black Crow," gives Angus a chance to shine. With a likeness to Kings of Leon's "On Call," "Black Crow" lays down a slow groove that remains unaltered throughout, but builds on a dynamic level that keeps the song interesting.
Ringing in at 66 minutes long, the Stone siblings have given us a great deal of material to absorb. The weakness in the record occurs in the middle when creativity takes a backseat to genre experimentation and repetition. Tracks like "And the Boys" and "Walk It Off" have moments of beauty, but rapidly become lackluster. Ending with "The Devil's Tears," however, is somewhat redeeming for those patient enough to play through the remainder of the thirteen total tracks on this release. Angus and Julia share a quiet duet that relates Down the Way to their first album while placing their maturation on display.
Down the Way is a vast improvement from Angus & Julia Stone's first release. My guess is they will continue to grow and expand their instrumentation as the years progress. They have developed a great deal of buzz in Australia and in the U.K., but have yet to make their mark in the U.S. Perhaps this will be the album that gives them the break they deserve.
Similar Artists: She & Him, Taken by Trees
Track Suggestion: "For You"
Since my original review of this record, it has gradually become one of my favorite albums of the year. This is an album that continues to grow on you with every listen. It's less than $10 now...buy it.