Angus And Julia Stone - Self Titled Album (Deluxe Edition)

By Christina Croucher

Released August 1st, 2014 - UMusic

Julia announced in a recent interview; "It's a love album. Falling in and out of love is a huge part of my life. Not just romantic love, but love between friends and family. I live for that more than anything else - more than music. It's what makes me tick and makes me want to wake up in the morning - to be in that feeling with people."

Angus and Julia Stone re-connected musically and personally to make this third self-titled album. They surprisingly parted ways despite their previous success with hits like Big Jet Plane off their album Down The Way, 2010. Coincidentally, successful producer Rick Rubin who had no knowledge of their split got a strong taste for their music and contacted them about collaboration; from this initiation he brought the duo back together. Rubin's reputation must have been tempting as the brother and sister duo decided to put past differences behind them and gave thumbs up to the project.

I can imagine that the equipment and budget Julia and Angus had to work with for the album would have potentially been the greatest yet; with internationally recognised producer Rubin being the force that drove the album. Rubin is the co-founder of Def Jam Records and has worked with Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jay-Zand Lana Del Ray (to name a few). I feel that some producers can "over produce" and overly commercialise to make catchy, what was once authentic. Rick is not this producer. He opened the window and let the pair shine through. The album is still oozing with that backyard session/ road trip vibe that the siblings portray so effortlessly. It's this realness that makes their music relatable to their upbringing on the shores of Sydney.

The album is full of rich bass lines, skin tingling electric guitar and lots of forward movement with the drumming. The lyrics are personally direct and seem emotively written with lots of poetic metaphor used conversationally between the pair. As heard in the exchange of lines in Heart Beats Slow that has been gracing our radios, as well as Get Home and Other Things. The rich, genetic quaver in their voices makes their call and response work so faultlessly and is so prettily expressed on Wherever You Are.

I love the way they have individually focused tracks too. Angus plays a beautiful song Please You. It's a stripped back track but as with the rest of the album not in any way musically lacking. The lyrics are minimal but performed with an amazing melodic rhythm that really grips you to the end. Julia; in the wordy Death Defying Acts, wow. Her voice is ageless and drifts from childlike, to haunting, to mature beyond her years. A very unique track, every word tells a story.

This album is carefully crafted without being over refined and is loaded with emotive and musical intricacy.  Rick Rubin has done justice to Angus and Julia Stone by tastefully producing this album; expectations reached.