Angus Stone – Broken Brights
Hot on the heels of Julia Stone’s album, By The Horns, Angus Stone has a new release. In some ways it’s quite similar to his sister’s. There’s no attempt to mix genres willy-nilly. There are plenty of pleasant songs. Generally, it’s a really nice listen. With Julia’s album, that ended up being the problem. With the exception of the title track, there was scarcely any emotion. Consequently, despite expectations, little really endured. And, at times, there’s something of the same here. The Angus Stone hallmark is strummy guitars, tight percussion and laid-back vocals. There’s plenty of that here, especially at the start. Over the course of an album, the formula would become tiresome. But, there’s more to Angus Stone. There’s the electric side. ‘Bird on the Buffalo’ is worth the entry fee alone. There’s banjo and trumpet on ‘Monsters’. And ‘The Wolf and the Butler’ tells a story as odd as it sounds. There’s also a marked shift in style on a couple of tracks. Previously, Angus Stone’s main reference points were Neil Young and Bob Dylan. The chatter is now all about his new-found penchant for JJ Cale. There are two candidates here, ‘It Was Blue’, and the closer ‘Clouds Above’. A little more insistent. Slightly more abrasive. But nothing too radical. They’re not very memorable, but they ensure there’s no possibility of monotony, which is good. It’s easy to say but an Angus and Julia Stone album with half the tracks of their two recent releases would probably have been more rewarding than their two solo albums. But, separately, there’s still plenty to like.