Angus & Julia Stone capture hearts on Down The Way

A cool breeze on a summer night. Crunching leaves as they fall off colorful trees. Lovers, friends, children holding hands. What happens when an album comes along that brings out every sentimental bone in a person’s body? What happens when an album commands you to dream? To visualize each sound as if you were seeing, and hearing becomes just a supporting sense. To imagine your life in someone else’s shoes, maybe even the person you’ve always hoped to be. Angus & Julia Stone, you make me whole with Down The Way.

Down The Way is Angus & Julia Stone’s ticket to international stardom. There were always hints that they could get there from previous material, but something was missing. Sure, they were talented instrumentalists, crafty writers and could sing a lick. But the affect wasn’t fully there. On Down The Way, I am with Julia for every note; I am with Angus for every lyric. I am with them because they invite me to be. 13 tracks full of charm, enchantment and ultimately, allure. I’m reeled in from the very first key in “Hold On”. That song, the very first track on the album, immediately represents a change for Angus & Julia stone – we’re not just listening to simple acoustic folk anymore. We’re captivated by a symphony of orchestral keys and strings which leads the folk toward greatness. (Not to mention Angus breaking out of his shell on tracks like “Draw Your Swords”, during which he employs a very emotional Glen Hansard like drawl.)

The major element of Angus & Julia’s charisma comes from their very voices. Playing off each other with ease, as should be expected of siblings almost living under the other’s skin, the Stones alternate who works as the dominating presence in each song, and at times, the other purrs in the background, acting almost like another instrument. It lends a necessary variety, but because they complement each other so well, the sound remains consistent and never startling or off-putting. Which leads to one small gripe with the album: toward the middle, a sequence of songs sound fairly similar and could cause you to stir a bit if you don’t have the patience to put up with it. Yes, it happens to me, but not enough so that it takes away from the potency of the album as a whole.

Compelling; convincing; authoritative. Making an album of such proportions can be difficult to accomplish in the unhurried folk genre, but Angus & Julia Stone pull it off to near perfection with Down The Way.

Angus & Julia Stone – “Big Jet Plane” [MP3]

Angus & Julia Stone – “Walk It Off” [MP3]

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