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Angus & Julia Stone - Heart Full Of Wine

Angus And Julia Stone, Heart Full Of Wine

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

HEART Full Of Wine is the debut mini-album from Australian brother and sister duo Angus and Julia Stone and it’s an effortlessly enthralling listen that’s divided into upbeat summer breezes and late night tales tinged with solitary introspection.

Comprised of 12 tracks, the album contains material from two separate recording sessions in the UK – first with Chris Potter (Verve/Richard Ashcroft) and then later with Travis frontman Fran Healy. It falls distinctly into light and shade categories.

The six tracks that make up the Chocolate & Cigarettes section are probably the most satisfying, demonstrating the siblings’ ability to conjure effortlessly pleasing guitar and piano based melodies, delivered in a pleasant vocal style. Tracks such as Mango Tree and Private Lawns emerging in shimmering style to really ease you into a relaxed, stress-free place.

Private Lawns, in particular, contains some nice guitar work and a sultry, husky set of vocals from Julia that are really stirring, while Mango Tree harks back to the laidback style of Simon & Garfunkel and is quite simply a terrific listen.

Another highlight, Paper Aeroplane is similarly feel-good in nature, a shuffling beat working in tandem with a great guitar riff and some more husky vocals that nod towards Beth Orton. While my own personal standout, Babylon drops some violin into the mix to utterly enthralling effect. It’s quite possibly the most epic of the tracks on the long-player but achingly beautiful and a fine showcase of this duo’s all-round ability to both please and stir an emotional response.

Of the two recording sessions, the songs that comprise Heart Full Of Wine mark a slightly more sombre direction, but there’s still plenty to admire. Wooden Chair, for instance, is an achingly poignant recording that’s built around a tender acoustic guitar riff and some captivating whistles. It quietly takes the breath away and entrances you with its tale.

There’s some similarly enthralling mouth organ accompaniment provided on the heartbreak ballad Fooled Myself that finds Julia’s vocals once again echoing those of Beth Orton, albeit more haunting, while the stripped down Sadder Than You displays a starker side that’s reminiscent of Portishead. It’s another stripped down offering that finds Julia’s vocals set against a lonesome stop-start guitar riff, thereby marking them at their most striking.

Heart Full Of Wine may be a mini-LP of contrasting halves – but put together they add up to a supremely satisfying whole. It’s well worth toasting as one of the better albums of the year so far.

Download picks: Wooden Chair, Sadder Than You, Fooled Myself, Mango Tree, Private Lawns, Babylon

Track listing:

  1. What You Wanted
  2. Fooled Myself
  3. Heart Full Of Wine
  4. I’m Yours
  5. Sadder Than You
  6. Wooden Chair
  7. Private Lawns
  8. Mango Tree
  9. All Of Me
  10. Paper Aeroplane
  11. Babylon
  12. Chocolates & Cigarettes