Unlike their debut album A Book Like This, Australian siblings Angus & Julia Stone’s latest album Down The Way is bleaker, relying on heavier musical beats to carry the songs. Whilst their first offering showcased their distinctive yet fragile vocals, bringing a fresh and vibrant sound, this release seems somewhat darker, the weight being placed on the accompanying harp and trumpet. Nevertheless the vulnerability is not lost and lyrically they weave the same magic through their songs. The new album still contains the tranquil trademarks of the duo, whose vocals ricochet off each other, rising and falling like heartbeats, demanding full attention to truly appreciate its beauty.
Having already hit the number 1 spot in the Australian chart it’s success is no doubt rooted in the likes of Big Jet Plane, which stands out as an instant hit. Smooth yet seductive the duel vocals add extra depth, whilst Yellow Brick Road combines their innocent sound with adult wondering, culminating into a wistful song that is deeply emotive. It’s Walk It Off however, which really grabs attention. A triumphant sounding ode to lost love, which could be mistaken for a victory march were it not for its lyrics, the contradicting elements of the song lift it up as the stand out track of the album.
All in all, it seems Down The Way is not for the faint hearted. Filled with more lovelorn lyrics and stringed accompaniments, Julia’s vocals are similar to that of Laura Marling and Bjork, whilst Angus hints towards Nick Drake. Offering poignant folk, the album is undoubtedly more conceptual than A Book Like This, making it seem slow and sluggish on first listen. However, for those with the willingness to give it a couple of spins the album opens up in depth, allowing it to evolve into a bitter-sweet pleasure, which is perfectly encapsulated by the track Old Friend.