Angus Stone – Broken Brights
Released: 16/07/2012 on EMI
I'm going to flag up a personal bias from the off here: Angus and Julia Stone have the sort of voices I love, the ones that give you the feeling that any song is being sung right there with you. I'm a sucker for a good accent and it is clear that once you find out they come from a land down under, that it has helped enhance Angus Stone's distinct lilt. The music itself is never going to win over fans of overcomplicated Jazz progressions, but I'm glad of that fact. This is simple, straightforward good melodic pop.
I berated an album recently for only being something I might listen to while driving a truck along route 66, yet strangely this evokes a similar reaction in me. The vibe is more of a long distance road-trip as the sun sets on an Indian summer's eve, a car full of good friends saying nothing. 'Apprentice of the Rocket Man' buzzes through a cheap radio, windows down, wind blowing through the hair of the girl in the passenger seat... (Ok, back with us now please Simon - Ed). Sorry, I should get some more coffee, actually, this album would work for that too, I'm in a coffee shop in a mid USA state, our eyes meet, 'Broken Brights' is playing. Blonde, effortlessly pretty, she smiles... (*slap* WAKE UP SIMON - Ed).
The album pretty much follows on from where Angus left off with his last album written with his sister, but it is still uniquely his direction. Where Julia has lent towards the Joni vibe, Angus heads off looking for Johnny Cash, Elliot Smith and Bob Dylan. The album does wander off down a couple of different routes towards the end; 'It Was Blue' really reminds me of The Charlatans for some reason I can't put my finger on, 'Be What You Be' seems to be the moment Paul Simon wandered into the room to lend a hand and the last track 'End Of The World' wheels in a good dose of organ just as the MDMA seems to have kicked in during recording. It all works well for me, it's a new direction for Angus while still holding on to what makes him good, something unique yet familiar. It's an album that you could listen to, while sitting by the river, on a summer's evening, golden glow in the air, ice cold beer in hand, a few friends, she walks over to you... You can imagine the rest yourself.
Turn On: Broken Brights
Turn Off: It Was Blue