Angus & Julia Stone

Down the Way

BY Michael EdwardsPublished May 25, 2010

Australian brother and sister duo Angus & Julia Stone had moved much further along the road since their debut appeared back in 2007. That record put the focus on acoustic guitars and sweet vocals, whereas their new album, Down The Way, cranks the amps up to about six, and on occasion, eight, weaving an even more hypnotic spell as a result. The record builds upon the folky roots of its predecessor, but pulls them into rockier territory ― a relative term ― although they never sound uncomfortable. The songs with Julia on lead vocals tend to be quieter, something that suits her little girl voice, which isn't a million miles away from the Cranes' Alison Shaw. Angus has a gruffer vocal style that works well on the other songs, but they inevitably fall back to their old habits and help each other out, ensuring there are some background harmonies, suiting the new, fuller arrangements perfectly. Down The Way isn't revolutionary by any means, but there's something rather wonderful about the spell the siblings cast. Right from string-laden opening track "Hold On," through to the epic closer "The Devil's Tears," it just works, feels right and sounds great. This is a very nice surprise.

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