Solo mission a success
IT WAS Blue is a song unlike any Angus Stone has penned before.
Hidden towards the back of his second solo album, It Was Blue carries genuine menace.
Its murky, sinister atmosphere and shadow- dwelling intensity feel like the moment in a David Lynch film where the suspense has built to a peak and is on the verge of breaking.
It also feels like he is channelling Iggy Pop. What on earth is going on here? Honestly, it’s worth checking that Stone even wrote this one as the delivery is so very far from what he has given us in the past.
He almost growls: ‘‘ I don’t need you now/ Never needed you before/ In my head.’’ One song, worth the price of the admission all by itself.
Of course, the polar opposite can be found here, too.
Light, cutesy tunes like Be What You Be or The Wolf & The Butler are just so quiet and unassuming – and a little dull.
Stone is far more interesting when he lets the blues and roots side of his persona shine brighter than the folk side.
Twice he manages a smart Neil Young impersonation. Only a Woman and Bird on the Buffalo effortlessly slide some lively electric guitar grunt into his usual palette with sensational results.
There’s also some Bob Dylan- like vocal deliveries and Fleetwood Mac- esque melodies scattered throughout the album.
It’s pretty hard to find faults in influences as top quality as these.
A fresh and vibrant collection of instruments make this album more than just another guy- plus- a- guitar strum- fest.
The fiddles, violin and mandolin lift River Love with an energy verging on raucous ( for him), while the flute solo on country- blues outing The Blue Door is a welcome surprise.
Wooden Chair is a prime example of his boundaries shifting.
It could have easily been a faceless folk song like any other but the inclusion of a whistle melody, some excited woops and hand claps give the song much- needed panache.
Be warned, the lilting melodies on the title track will get stuck in your brain.
‘‘ Shake them, let me lust tonight/ We’ll grow young, make me feel all right.’’
Broken Brights is exactly as chilled out and relaxed as you’d imagine.
Chuck it on the stereo and it’s near impossible not to imagine starry skies, roaring campfires and wide, open spaces.