Brother and sister duo Angus and Julia Stone burst onto Australia’s music scene in 2006 with their debut EP Chocolates and Cigarettes. Another EP followed and, finally their debut album A Book Like This emerged to international critical acclaim in 2009. The self-produced sophomore release Down the Way emerged last year to make their strongest musical statement yet and it’s spreading the fame of their taut-yet-tender indie folk to distant shores. (They recorded it on some distant shores too – everywhere from Brooklyn to an old sawmill in Cornwall.) They’ve sold out venues in Australia and abroad and their plaintive track “Big Jet Plane” made it to number 1 on the Triple J Hottest 100 chart this year.
The pair shares songwriting and vocal duties, a system that creates lovely patterns of alternating light and shadow on their albums. Julia has a delicate, feathery voice that throbs like a robin’s breast. Angus has a voice as warm, soft, and scratchy as an old sweater. They both fill the open spaces in their minimally arranged songs with mammoth quantities of melancholy and wonder, animating their poetic lyrics with palpable emotion. On their albums feelings and stories overlap and blend. It’s hard to say where one artist’s light ends and the others shadows pick up. What we can tell you is that these sibling musicians bring a quietly powerful chemistry to their work together. So, while their gentle sounds and aching lyrics may sooth your soul, they definitely won’t put you to sleep.