By Tasmin Jean Marlin
Angus and Julia Stone’s Down the Way Album is a fresh take on their unique style of music. Their unprecedented mellow, country-like, yet contemporary style induced in their previous album transcends in this album while remaining true to their style.
The thirteen-track album consists of the songs Hold On, Black Crow, For you, Big Jet Plane, Santa Monica Dream, Yellow Brick Road, And the Boys, On the Road, Walk It Off, Hush, Draw Your Swords, I’m Not Yours and the Devil’s Tears. Due to this brother-sister duo’s desire to travel, the album was not recorded in their home country, Australia, but rather in various locations around the world such as London, Brooklyn and New York. Perhaps this is indicative of their almost precise expression of a universal human condition whereby they relay the intricacies and sentiments of relationships.
The album exudes a mellow style yet it evokes intense emotional responses by use of music as well as lyrics. For instance, the song Big Jet Plane, one of the album’s best songs, takes the listener on a relationship’s journey. The process of attraction to a deeper, more sentimental love, is exhibited. However, the lyrics and story of the song does not follow the mundane, conventional products exhausted by Hollywood and the commercial society. Instead, it focuses on a man desiring to bring out the best in his lover by making her realize her potential, encouraging her to reach greater heights and persuading her to go further and beyond her own expectations of life.
Yellow Brick Road, another favourite of the album, emphasizes this universality illustrated in the album as the music, dependent on one’s mood, evokes sentiments of hope or sadness, for example. The message one could perhaps extract from this song are extensive. For example, one could subjectively deduce the singer is going through a self-exploratory process or of the singer finding love or of the singer facing some sort of reality; all of which are identifiable to an audience of some kind.
Some songs are sung solely by Angus and others by Julia; each perfectly suiting the content and mood of the song. Some songs are a duet by the two. Their voices blend so unconventionally yet so effectively and further progress the mood of the music. Their voices are unconventional in that they don’t make use of the exhausted inflections, riffs and styles of commercial music. The instruments also deviate from the commonalities of commercial music and render a relaxed, folk-like mood. Each song is individual. While one incorporates instruments like tambourines, violins and drums, another will use solely a piano. In this way, every song is authentic in the album (and on the broader commercial scale) yet there is something intangible and inexpressible that links the songs together and makes the music uniquely Angus and Julia-like. In relation to the progress made from their previous albums to this one, one should anticipate great things from this duo, especially unique perspectives on universal issues illustrated in through their lyrics and music.
This album is definitely worth the listen and would benefit one on the surface level of entertainment purposes by evoking moods of relaxation, as well as on a deeper, more intellectual level by making one consider varying perspectives on an individual situation. It almost makes one feel impressionable.