Stornoway: Tales from Terra Firma (4AD)

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Stornoway: The Bigger Picture
Stornoway: Tales from Terra Firma (4AD)

The Anglofolk 2012 debut album Beachcomber's Windowsill by this Oxford group (named for a small town in the windblown Outer Hebrides) didn't quite cut it with its folksy pop and songs about bird watching, or people preferring to watch television rather than roaming free.

Just seemed a bit twee and earnest.

However here they paint with bigger brushes and aim for spiritually-imbued grandeur and romanticism with memorable pop choruses which more properly evoke the great outdoors they so clearly yearn for.

They even throw in a little woozy folk-into-cabaret on The Great Procrastinator and that shot of humour is also welcome.

Lyrically they also go for the big sweep (getting married by the sea in the uplifting opener You Take Me As I Am) but also paint engaging small details: Trees with “the last of the leaves clinging on like my mother's hand, cold as the sandpaper wind on my cheek” in the old-school acoustic folk of November Song.

These are songs about the gift that love is, of the natural world and a celebration of both.

Rare topics today, but not twee at all.

And with memorable melodies

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