The Stone siblings grew up in a beach town near Sydney, but their second album as a vocal/guitar duo sounds like it was made by Americans with a yen for Fleetwood Mac and Joanna Newsom. As on their debut, the core of the music is dusty, derelict folk that's either ghostly or impossibly twee, depending on which Stone is singing lead (while initially entrancing, Julia's little-girl gulps and tweets – Walk It Off is infested with them – soon have you hitting fast-forward). This time, though, they've expanded the sound: there are velvety textures, lush(er) arrangements and, occasionally, actual choruses. And when the Stones harmonise against a background of faraway guitar and strings, the combined voices make songs such as Black Crow feel magical. The west-coast influence couldn't be more evident – on Yellow Brick Road, Angus even admits, "I fell in love in California" – and in this case it's worked out fruitfully.4/5
Caroline Sullivan, guardian.co.uk
4.Big Jet Plane
5.Santa Monica Dream
6.Yellow Brick Road
7.And The Boys
8.On The Road
9.Walk It Off
11.Draw Your Swords
12.I’m Not Yours
13.The Devils Tears
Only three years passed between the Stones' debut and this follow-up record, but the siblings seem to have aged exponentially in the interim. While 2007's A Book Like This found the two setting their own adolescence to a soundtrack of acoustic guitars and sparse percussion, Down the Way is a decidedly adult album, filled with textured arrangements and a wider array of influences. Angus and Julia handle their own production this time around, and the resulting songs jump from panoramic chamber pop -- often with a rootsy, Americana edge -- to bedroom folk songs, with both members trading off vocals and instrumental duties. Julia still sings in a soft, fairy tale voice, but her own songs are bolder than they once were, with tracks like "Hold On" taking much of their strength from the contrast between her gauzy, childlike croon and the nocturnal-sounding instruments that surround it. Even so, brother Angus gets the "most improved" award, having moved past the solo folk songs he favored on A Book Like This (although some of those show up here, too) in favor of lush, collaborative material. On "Draw Your Swords," one of the album's three tunes to stretch past six minutes, he rips into the final refrain with gusto, shouting the lyrics in a cracked baritone before adopting a Jeff Buckley-ish falsetto. ~ Andrew Leahey
One of my favourite albums of the year! Angus and Julia Stone have smashed through the Australian music
scene since their humble beginnings in 2006. Their heartfelt storytelling reminds me of one of Australia's greats - Paul Kelly.
This album is perfect to chill by the beach with a beer in hand and just sit their listening to the sombre tones. In this album we have
seen a more mature offering from the brother-sister duo. Whether it is Angus or Julia singing - both belt out one hell of a tune.
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