Albums of Note... Breaking away from their successful sibling recording partnership, Angus and Julia Stone have both begun releasing equally impressive solo material and this week, we take a look at Angus Stone's latest solo album, Broken Brights. Angus' song writing nods to classic rock legends such as Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin and Johnny Cash. A highlight of the album is the track 'Apprentice of the Rocket Man,' the description of which makes it feel like it may be worth buying the album for this track alone: "The ability of this track to transport you to another world is quite incredible. If you want to experience weightlessness without passing the NASA exam or forking out the $200,000 for a Virgin Galactic flight then sit back, close your eyes and become immersed in Angus Stone's quite brilliant tune."
The second album released by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros is being reissued by the Hellcat record label. Global A Go-Go was an exciting foray into world music for the former Clash frontman and his band of merry men. It was the last album released by Strummer before his death in 2002 but the reissue is light on feeling like a cash-in, on Why?at would have been the year of his 60th birthday. Musically, the Mescaleros were many a world apart from The Clash, but the emotional anger of punk remains. It's an instrumental track, though, that proves to be the focal point of Global A Go-Go: "A 17+ minute reworking of a traditional Irish Folk song closes the album. 'Minstrel Boy' is a perfect way to bring the curtain down as it ebbs and flows like an improvised jam session around a campfire. Featuring a wealth of disparate instruments it brings together many of the musical ideas to be found on Global A Go-Go into one track."
Sibling rivalry can produce interesting results. Some relationships that were merely nothing more than tolerable can be argued to have produced a partnership's best results. Oasis, for instance, were at their height when brotherly love was clearly on the wane. Other notable contemporaries rarely collaborate but do seem to have a healthy competitive streak to them, although many of them would probably deny this. Martha Wainwright wouldn't openly acknowledge that she'd like to be bigger than her older brother, but I bet somewhere inside is the desire to out-do him just for a while (I'm sure Janet Jackson was suitably smug when she was atop the charts instead of her brother Michael). Even the most angelic and successful duos such as The Carpenters were, in the end, undone by their own addictions and disorders, arguably in part born out of the strain on their relationship.
On the more laid back Australasian shores where Angus & Julia Stone hail from, I'm sure this potential friction is a far more mellowed out affair but nevertheless it is more than likely to exist on some level. After producing a set of critically acclaimed albums over six years performing and touring together, Angus & Julia Stone have decided the time is right to cut free and go it alone (At least temporarily). Angus did it through the back door in 2009 with his solo album 'Smoking Gun' and Julia more recently with 'The Memory Machine'. This time around, rather than do it 'undercover' Angus Stone has taken the lead from his younger sister and put out his own solo album, under his own name. 'Broken Brights' is the result; but does it match up to, fall short of, or exceed his sisters sublime solo effort?
Broken Brights is not an instant win with any degree of immediacy. It requires a listener's attention and, in some parts, persistence. Perseverance, however, does on this occasion pay off. Where a more immediate approach may have brought fleeting attention and a fickle following, this more subtle and considered composition plays the long game. All those that want to believe that there is more to this album than they may initially hear will be richly rewarded with an album of such texture and tenderness.
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