By Emily DiAlbert, Contributor
[Vertigo Berlin; 2017]
Key Tracks: “Snow”, “My House Your House”, “Sylvester Stallone”
Three years after the release of their self-titled album, Australian brother-sister duo Angus & Julia Stone gave fans 52 minutes worth of brand new tunes. Snow consists of songs featuring strong instrumentals (a mix of guitar, synth, piano, banjo and electronics), cooing harmonies, and bittersweet vocals. The album, however, is one so lackluster (focusing on the most common topics ever: love, loneliness and friendship; and containing songs that all sound the same) that it will most likely fade into the background and out of listeners’ minds in a few hours.
The record begins with the title track and gives listeners hope for an excellent album. “Snow” features shimmering, slow guitar riffs, a pulsing beat and calming lyrics that perfectly intertwine the Stones’ voices. The song does an excellent job of highlighting the voice of Angus Stone, as his voice echoes that of Milky Chance, making the tone just a tad more gruff and unique. Unfortunately, as the album progresses and each of the following songs begin to sound exactly like this one, Snow meets its downfall.
Tracks like “Sleep Alone”, “Make It Out Alive” and “Who Do You Think You Are” have the same tone, lack of vocal range, lack of power and lack of uniqueness that the album seems to drag on for hours as you listen to one song after another.
“My House Your House” stood out as it was the only track on the album that demonstrated the Stones’ power and ability. The song begins slow and steady with the duo’s traditional mix of acoustic guitar and a sprinkling piano scale. The duo begins singing, showing no vocal range and repeating the words “My House Your House” at least fifteen times throughout the duration of the song (they have the tendency to repeat the song title like this in each song on the record). Three minutes into the track, however, the song shifts as the instrumentals began to build. While the other tracks on the album featured this building, they led to disappointment; the song faded out and finished; there was no demonstration power or range – just nothingness. This time, the build led to a climax that served as an immense stress relief because it was the first song on the album to finally go somewhere. Guitars belted out powerful riffs, piano chords snapped and a choir joined the duo into a booming explosion of actual talent. After the song finishes, though, the album goes back to the same, uninteresting routine.
In Snow, the ingredients of an excellent album were there but poorly combined. Angus & Julia Stone each have unique voices that allow them to stand out from the crowd if they utilized them correctly. The main issue was that the duo didn’t take advantage of that and produced songs that highlighted approximately zero percent of their vocal range. Additionally, each song featured on the album had the same-tuned instrumental intro, the same parallelism in the lyrics and, the most disappointing, the same lack of climax in the music, which leads to immense boredom. The tracks could stand alone, though; most likely on a road-trip playlist amongst 100 other indie songs that you aren’t really listening to anyway.