Stornoway - The Early Adventures Of... EP

The Early Adventures Of… EP

Maybe it’s the pied piper flute, maybe the girls like a nice neat side parting after all or maybe it’s a reaction to the new lad template laid down by Messrs Gallagher and Albarn and carried on by all manner of oafish Arctic dwellers, but somehow, despite the passing trends and MTV endorsed fads, the need for fey indie guys in cardies with acoustic guitars never goes away.

Picking up the tweed-coated gauntlet are Oxford-based combo Stornoway with their debut self-titled, self-released EP. Indie aficionados will pick their favourite reference points but the beauty here is that the music is so catchy and immediate that you don’t need a degree in all things fey to enjoy it.

Sure there’s a real mix going on here – Belle & Sebastian’s quirky arrangements, the battered synths lifted from welsh folk weirdos Gorkys Zygotic Mynki and even the earthy tones of Badly Drawn Boy, but it’s the way the band pulls in these influences before re-wiring the plugs and sending them on their own little way that’s really arresting.

Particularly impressive throughout are the syncopated rhythms providing a funky and almost – melodic in their own right – flatbed for the rest of the mix to sit on. These little twists and turns of arrangement help to elevate the band from a work in progress to potential serious contenders.

Also particularly noteworthy ( especially given the homemade and self-referential nature of the work) is the grasp that the band has retained over space and dynamics. There are all kinds of instruments thrown into the mix here that somehow never detract from the song. Everyone here seems to strictly adhere to the idea of singer and song and are happy to stand back when required and let the mix breathe, which is a classy trick somehow missed by many bands starting out in their studio life.

All told this is a very cool little EP – what’s great is that real thought has been put in at every stage from what tools to pull out of the instrument cupboard to the way the record is packaged. A quick tighten-up on the vocal melodies and a bit of muscle (which will come from playing these songs live) should see this band really consolidating on the excellent start they have given themselves.

Guest article from Ben M.

Watch Stornoway – I Saw You Blink

Written by Guest Writers on

Between 2003 and 2009, [the-mag] had regular contributors from music correspondents covering their local scene. You'll find them all in the guest writers section. The specific writer is mentioned at the bottom of each article.

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