Release Date: Aug 5, 2014
Record label: Virgin EMI
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Angus & Julia Stone are practically tenants in our house. I almost knock on the bathroom door for fear they might be in there, brushing their teeth as I get ready for work. I hear their close, tempered harmonies every time my wife folds clothes, or looks for new houses on our crappy little laptop.
Sydney siblings Angus and Julia Stone have long exhibited a pleasing potential for the slightly skew-whiff. “Private Lawns”, a sparse and spectral take on Calamity Jane’s “Windy City”, was beaten up and brushed up, dominated by bass guitar and spoken vocals. Flash forward eight years and an unexpected collaboration with iconic producer Rick Rubin, master of contrast, might seem like destiny.
For a country of over 20 million souls who speak English as a first language, Australia’s contribution to the popular music canon worldwide is disappointingly thin. Those who make ripples outside their homeland are normally either popular but slightly naff (Kylie Minogue, INXS, Men At Work) or critically acclaimed but obscure (The Triffids, The Go-Betweens, Tame Impala). Arguably only Nick Cave has succeeded in being both popular and artistically relevant (Crowded House came close, but were 50% Kiwi).
Australian sibling folk-rock duo Angus & Julia Stone broke big with their 2010 sophomore album, Down the Way. The album, which debuted at number one in Australia, took home five ARIA music awards, including Album of the Year. On the heels of their success, the famously shy duo began work on a follow-up, but eventually shelved the idea in favor of taking some time off to pursue solo work.
Australian brother-and-sister duo Angus and Julia Stone have had Top 10 albums in their home country, but in 2010 they decided to part ways and release a couple of solo albums apiece. Now they’ve reunited for a third LP, landing the services of super-producer Rick Rubin. His touch is noticeable; the influences of Neil Young and Joanna Newsom are still there, but there’s a gloss that was previously missing.
Brother/sister duo Angus and Julia Stone had already released two albums, split up and embarked on solo careers when Rick Rubin came knocking, keen for them to record new material with him. Just what Rubin found so appealing isn't always obvious: the Australian duo's music has a languorous, slow-burn quality to it, and the pretty Wherever You Are shows off their understated vocals, but too often things feels very sanitised. The high-wire trick of pulling off thrilling MOR pop normally involves adding a bewitching strangeness to your conservative sounds.