Angus & Julia Stone “Cape Forestier”

Nettwerk, 2024

Simplistic and well made tunes make for something passively enjoyable, if not always terribly memorable.

In a world that is increasingly complex, Australian siblings Angus and Julia Stone find one thing reliably simple: Making music.“Life is complicated, confusing and strange at times but music isn’t. Not for us,” Angus recently mused. “It’s just something we do to feel normal.” That easiness can be felt throughout the duo’s fifth release, ‘Cape Forestier’, as the songs flow past you like dandelion seed heads in a breeze on a summer day.

“Baby, I keep on losing you / You got somewhere that you run to,” open the Stones in perfect harmony on ‘Losing You’, a song which sees the narrator searching for their loved one in vain against a guitar that twangs with delicate care. On ‘Down to the Sea’, Julia’s voice is smokey and slightly sceptical with a glimpse of the kind of intriguing edge you might expect from 90s trip hop: “You can tell me your philosophy / Just because I understand doesn’t mean that I believe.” Her brother’s voice, meanwhile, backs her with effortless harmony.

‘My Little Anchor’ and ‘County Sign’ have a sound that leans into traditional folk, appropriately warm and intimate for songs about finding joy in the simple, everyday. The title track drifts along without a care, although it sounds like it could have easily been lifted from one of those generic acoustic chill-out albums that were popular in the early-00s. “No love you don’t need to buy me flowers / Don’t need to worry that I am blue / No love, you don’t need to make me promises / I’m happy as long as I’m with you,” insists Julia on the small but charming ‘City of Lights’.

After fielding many requests for a studio version, the duo finally recorded ‘The Wedding Song’ and gave it a spot on ‘Cape Forestier’. It’s a sincere love song that was originally written for a friend’s wedding, but has gone on to be a fan favourite at ceremonies around the globe. “We’re gonna build a home together / You and I forever and ever / And we’ll make babies on the beach under the stardust,” Julia sings with utmost sweetness, just about managing to avoid things turning cloying.

Honest and tender, with gentle strings and soft harmonies, ‘Sitting in Seoul’ finds Julia telling the simple truth that she’s in an airport when all she wants to do is be back home: “I wanted you to think I was okay / But I’m coming home / As quick as the plane / Will carry me to you.” A twinkling, truncated version of ‘The Wonder of You’, made famous by Elvis Presley, plays the album out with just two lines from the chorus: “That’s the wonder / The wonder of you.”

Some people argue that the best music comes from tortured artists, albums that gestate for years and are a trial to make, but when the Stones make an album, simple is the only way they know. Admittedly, ‘Cape Forestier’ is not an album that will rock you to your core – and there are times you can all but picture the scenes in glossy American dramas the tracks might accompany – but the 11-tracks are a pleasant way to while away some time, and there’s something to be said for that.

6/10
6/10

About Helen Jones 135 Articles
North West based lover of country and Americana.
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