Stornoway - Beachcombers Windowsill

Craig Broad 25/06/2010

Rating: 5/5

An indie pop band from Oxford, no way, you have to be kidding, one of these is like a needle in a haystack right? Well, no, not really. After the independent success of Youthmovies, the more mainstream success of Foals and the global success of Radiohead, it would be daft to suggest anything other than Stowaway are a band that need to be watched from the outset.

This, their debut album, "Beachcomers Windowsill", is filled to the brim with melodic hooks that are not only poppy but folky and in places almost sea shanty-esque. The first single and first track on the album "Zorbing" is an upbeat affair with melodies that sit somewhere between The Coral, early Noah And The Whale and perhaps even Bombay Bicycle Club, with a simple melody underpinned by a beautiful use of vocal contrast, the lead vocals being carried by deep and warming backing vocals as the guitars and the further use of instruments such as trumpets get you tapping your feet and bouncing around, you just can't help yourself. "I Saw You Blink" their latest single to be released from this album continues with the positive lyrical themes of the record, with Briggs claiming that he missed his train because he was daydreaming about a girl that might just be the one. Lyrically, it often feels honest but tongue-in-cheek while musically, the style oozes a feel good summer of pop, something that we could expect from certain Beach Boys releases. It isn't all happiness though, "Boats And Trains" is the typical band commentary on the failure of long distance relationships and for once, it is actually nice to have diversity lyrically from an album. The album is at its best on the last track mind, "Long Distance Lullaby" starting with a bell chiming before Briggs recalls a story of being drunk and calling up his lover just to say that he misses them, while behind, the drums cut a steady shadow behind a bright and glossy guitar melody.

"Beachcomers Windowsill" is going to be my album of the year, it's only late June and I have already decided that nothing that arrives on my lap for the rest of the year will even remotely touch how great this album is, and just think, it's only their debut, so they can surely only get better?

Stornoway Myspace