Review Summary: Still sweet, but maybe a little too cheerless.
The last three years co-headlining between the US, UK and Australia has easily propelled the Stone siblings to greater heights after their defining debut A Book Like This
a few years back. Such progression doesn’t sway their figure anywhere towards here or there on Down the Way
, other than its overall feathery outer upon a first listen. Still considering how cute and little that three years ago was, now in a new decade they begin things as if three years ago was merely yesterday. But unlike their debut however, this is a rather quaint and beautiful collection of songs with mood setting tempos and instrumentation designed to reflect lullaby dreams. “Hold On”
, “And the Boys”
and “Santa Monica Dream”
exemplify where 70% of the album’s anchorage is; the cinematic realm between Julia’s tensing voice box, minimal finger picking and warm fuzzy string arrangements. Between these Angus casually develops his own intermissions like “On the Road”
, “Big Jet Plane”
and “Yellow Brick Road”
, which are more developed and structured pieces focussed more around novel electric guitar passages (the latter extending itself through an impressive but basic departure solo) than Julia’s mellow sleepyhead voice.
While most here is as pretty as their song-titles, there are elements missing that made A Book Like This
more attuned to their stylistic French cafe folk-pop. Monotony sets in when piano and harmonica that complemented songs like “Silver Coin”
previously, are totally forgotten. Such petty things certainly won’t divide their growing fan base; if anything it will most likely act in the opposite and draw in more support as most here reflects what’s already been created before, only in a more serious (possibly romantic) setting on a beach somewhere in the mid 1950s rather than a backyard in the 60s. Despite this need of fun infusion, Down the Way
is still a satisfying listen, even if it’s one that potentially could have been a subtle failure if not for some sharp songwriting in the cracks.