Many bands have stumbled when working with a big-name producer, but Foo Fighters/Pixies man Gil Norton has kept Stornoway’s folksy charm intact while making their third album sound appropriately expansive. Writing the songs in a storm-lashed camper van on the Gower peninsula, frontman Brian Briggs has audibly been inspired by the environmental and elemental. Bonxie features the calls of 20 different bird species, while the songs upliftingly talk of “great, grey skies on the great, grey ocean” and being “lifted to a higher plane”.
Bearing the Shetland nickname for the Great Skua, an impressive but fearsome sea bird of northern climes, Stornoway's third LP, Bonxie, gets to the heart of the Oxford band's passion for wildlife, literature, and clever pop songcraft. Stornoway, who until now have produced and engineered all of their previous recordings, stepped out of their comfort zone to enlist veteran producer Gil Norton (Pixies, Foo Fighters), who helped them make what is possibly their most personal, engaging, and best album to date. The four bandmembers have already built a sturdy reputation as talented recordists and inventive arrangers, and what Norton brings the table is a subtle but decidedly more robust production value that gives some added weight to the tracks, like on the excellent opening "Between the Saltmarsh and the Sea" and the lofty "Heart of the Great Alone.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. On April 13th, the lively lads of Stornoway released their third LP, Bonxie. The album namesake is taken after a large, predatory seabird known for it's aggressiveness. This may seem strange when thinking of the folk-tinged indie pop-rock of Stornoway, but this album plays with extremes.
Stornoway’s third album is named after the Great Skua, a seabird that is at the top of the food chain thanks, in part, to its aggressive demeanour. It’s a strange choice for a title, as the content of the album itself is anything but aggressive or ruthless and the band themselves could hardly be considered top predators. In fact it wouldn’t be surprising to find that they’ve developed a defensive strategy in case they meet Lemmy or Burzum plonker, Varg Vikernes.
British Sea Power aren’t the only band with an interest in ornithology. Stornoway’s third album, produced by Gil Norton, best known for his work with Pixies and Foo Fighters, takes its title from the nickname of the great skua and samples 20 different bird calls. More importantly, it indicates the four-piece’s future lies beyond the confines of jaunty folk-pop.
?A ‘bonxie’ is a colloquial term for a Great skua, a large ‘pirate’ seabird. Every day is a school day with Stornoway’s front man Brian Briggs. The band returns with more sounds of the sea, bird cries, joyously insightful song writing and an infectious sense of fun with Bonxie. Folk music is alive and well in its deepest traditions with the Oxford outfit.