Angus & Julia Stone - Angus & Julia Stone (Virgin/EMI Records) 
Angus & Julia Stone

This is a Rick Rubin produced album and that very fact alone should be enough to spark some interest but the fact that this is the latest offering from Australian duo Angus and Julia Stone should also be worthy of attention on its own. Opening up with the laid back and slightly sombre 'A Heartbreak', we are immediately transported in to a world where everyone drives around in dusty leather jackets, cowboy boots and dark glasses whatever time of day or night it is. 'My Word For It' has a disorientating, warped guitar sound that suggests it was recorded under water while 'Grizzly Bear' has a smoky, chilled out vibe that Sheryl Crow always strived for but never quite achieved.  On 'Heart Beats Slow' the duo get their groove on with some light, scratch guitars and a bass that is smoother than a wet otter on silk sheets. 'Wherever You Are' is a gently picked acoustic melody while 'Get Home' has more punch in a 90s rock anthem kind of way and 'Death Defying Acts' is pitched somewhere between a John Lennon penned Beatles tune and a dimly lit Jazz club during the prohibition years with Julia's emotionally fragile voice taking centre stage.

There are two distinct personalities at play on this album, one hopeful and one despairing which is, I suppose, how many of us approach the world on a daily basis if the truth be known. The steady, relentless stomp of 'Little Whiskey' is perhaps the voice of reason between the two extremes which is worrying for a tune named after alcohol! 'From The Stalls' sees Julia's delicate voice calling us to shore while 'Other Things' is a gentle, homely song that could be the Lemonheads with guest vocals from Zooey Deschanel.  'Please You' is a funky, swaggering piece of alt pop with some gorgeous percussion and a bass line that moves through your ribs before 'Main Street' takes things to a more reflective, introspective place full of darkness and shadows. Final track 'Crash And Burn' is a grunge'n'western tune with some downright dirty guitar sounds and an attitude of "whatever" just dripping lazily from every corner. There's no doubting that these guys are a genuinely talented pair and this talent has been superbly brought to the fore by the talents of Rubin. A match made in heaven but realised in LA.

More information:

Live Dates:

12th September  - Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
13th September - Lleyllyn Hall, Canberra
14th September - The Sydney Opera House, Sydney
15th September - The Sydney Opera House, Sydney

17th September - Civic Centre, Newcastle