England - Full Moon 232 - 07/31/15
I have been a fan of Stornoway since I heard their single "I Saw You Blink" from their first album, Beachcomber's Windowsill (2010). Their second album,
Tales From Terra Firma (2013) was as good as the first one. Will there be three in a row?
The Oxford quartet (named after the Scottish town of Stornoway on the Hebridean Isle of Lewis) was said to be the 'saviours of quality pop in Britain', and 'Britain's most talented young
band'. Brian Briggs (vocals, guitar), Jonathan Ouin (keyboard), and brothers Oli (bass) and Rob Steadman (drums) found each other, to take on the quest for excellent pop. Pop of the folk-tinted
kind, that is, since the music of Stornoway has this certain folk-pop feel. Stornoway have the pop charm that Death Cab for Cutie have lost on their way. They can also be slightly
reminiscent of Travis. Travis at their best, that is. Earlier I have compared Storonoway to the once fab Scottish pop band, the Trashcan Sinatras. Briggs
and Ouin started the band being big fans of Teenage Fanclub, but TFC don't shine through in the songs of Stornoway.
From the opening boat foghorns of "Between the Saltmarsh and the Sea" to the ebbing tide with bird whistles of the closing "Love Song of the Beta Male", Bonxie's vibe (and scent)
is a coastal and marine one. As I cycle around the tiny Danish isle of Drejø (population: 72! -- located south of the island Fyn, in English: Funen) with Bonxie on my player,
it is quite fascinating to see the saltmarsh and actually smell the salty sea as I listen to "Between the Saltmarsh and the Sea". Bonxie is a smashing album of fine folk-pop oozing with
sweet'n'sour happy-sadness, with highlights being "Get Low", "Sing With Our Senses", the bouncy "When You're Feeling Gentle", as well as the aforementioned opening song. You may also want
to hear the tension of "Man On Wire", the semi-epic tristesse of "Heart of the Great Alone", or the classic power-folk of "The Road You Didn't Take" (if Anglicana was a Brit equality to the
USA's Americana...). Bonxie (and Stornoway) is the sound of big music. To tell you the truth: All the Coldplay fans of the world should throw away their Coldplay records for instead to
get hold of the ones of Stornoway. Steòrnabhagh!
Copyright © 2015 Howard Popeye