9 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Oxford, England's Stornoway is yet another fine literate band that plays in the neo-traditionalist pattern roughly set forth by Mumford & Sons. Yet while Stornoway handles the heavy stuff with appropriate respect, the band is at its best when it lets its fun side loose. The carnival-esque arrangement of "Hook, Line and Sinker" swooshes into space with a jocular rhythm worthy of Belle & Sebastian at their most winsome. "The Bigger Picture" similarly adopts a carefree gait, but with an arrangement that keeps its feet on the ground. There's no stopping the effortless optimism of singer Brian Briggs; he gives us full details of his wedding for the opening track, the five-minute love song "You Take Me As I Am." The smart stereo mix accentuates the magic of "Knock Me on the Head," with the guitars shifting left to right as the vocal harmonies shoot down the middle. It's especially impressive considering the sessions took place in the garage of the parents of bassist Oli and drummer Rob Steadman. Yet there's nothing lo-fi about this fine effort.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Oxford, England's Stornoway is yet another fine literate band that plays in the neo-traditionalist pattern roughly set forth by Mumford & Sons. Yet while Stornoway handles the heavy stuff with appropriate respect, the band is at its best when it lets its fun side loose. The carnival-esque arrangement of "Hook, Line and Sinker" swooshes into space with a jocular rhythm worthy of Belle & Sebastian at their most winsome. "The Bigger Picture" similarly adopts a carefree gait, but with an arrangement that keeps its feet on the ground. There's no stopping the effortless optimism of singer Brian Briggs; he gives us full details of his wedding for the opening track, the five-minute love song "You Take Me As I Am." The smart stereo mix accentuates the magic of "Knock Me on the Head," with the guitars shifting left to right as the vocal harmonies shoot down the middle. It's especially impressive considering the sessions took place in the garage of the parents of bassist Oli and drummer Rob Steadman. Yet there's nothing lo-fi about this fine effort.

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