Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Mini-LP Review: You Don't Know Anything - Stornoway

Mini-LP: You Don't Know Anything
Release date: 11th November 2013
Rating: 9/10

After the success of their sophomore album, Tales From Terra Firma, (reviewed here back in March), Stornoway have returned with a mini-LP of songs which didn't quite  fit the 'mood' of their latest album.

Opener, When You Touch Down From Outer Space, has been a crowd favourite since it started being performed at gigs a few years back, but a studio version hasn't appeared until now. Despite the whimsical talk of 'cyborgs' and 'outer space', the lyrics convey a deeper and more emotional sense of exploration - lead-singer, Brian Briggs, wrote the song after the birth of his first child; singing 'I can't wait to introduce you to your new world', it's a touching ode to new life.

This theme of fresh beginnings is echoed in Waiting On The Clock, focusing on starting university and first love in a 'new found world'. However not everything is new; Stornoway have always found solace in the natural world, and we've come to anticipate this in each new release. 'So superior to beast and bird, drive them out unless they make us richer', Briggs sings on The Sixth Wave, whilst its marching beat could almost make it a Greenpeace anthem.

Tumbling Bay has a romantically nostalgic feel to it with talk of time machines 'to bring back Saturday'. It's a more laid-back vibe, creating the perfect breather in the middle of the album. The song seems to draw to a close, but an unexpected but nonetheless enchanting addition almost acts as a scene change into You Don't Know Anything, a song which has all the usual elements of a great Stornoway number - references to Oxford, vocal harmonies and trumpets. Clockwatching takes an entirely different approach, but is an exhilarating listen with a rather sinister edge to it, whilst Briggs' voice takes on a gruffer tone.

Tales From Terra Firma saw a clear progression from their debut album and again, You Don't Know Anything marks new territory for the band. Whilst these songs may be almost unrecognisable from those on Beachcomber's Windowsill, Stornoway touches still remain with trumpets striking up in triumphant fanfare across the album. It's a dramatic new sound from the band, and perhaps the most exciting one yet.

For more information visit:
You can also read my interviews with Oli Steadman (bassist) and Rob Steadman (drummer)

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