We are delighted to welcome our good friend and regular contributor as a guest reviewer for our Something New Review feature.
John Hartley AKA @JohnyNocash on Twitter has cast his eyes over the latest offering from Toronto based dream pop quartet The Autumn Stones, who are Ciaran Megahey (voice, guitar), Marcus Tamm (bass), Michael Addario (drums) and Gary Butler (horns, guitar).
Here is what John had to say about the The Autums Stones new album “Escapists”
If Ontario’s The Autumn Stones had been around thirty years ago, it is safe to say that a significant number of the EIO40 community would be reminiscing fondly about them now. Luckily for us, they weren’t. They are actually here: now.
Do not be mistaken. The Autumn Stones do not sound dated by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just that there are very few acts around at the moment making the sort of music that cannot be placed chronologically. There are no fancy keyboards that will sound wincingly old within a couple of years, no of-the-fashion guitar effects, just simple, great pop songs that by definition of their release are indie.
‘Escapists’ is the second Autumn Stones long player to enter the world since the band began over five years ago. Their self-released debut ‘Companions of the Flame’ came in 2011, then all went quiet for a couple of years before 2014’s burst of activity which saw the release of three singles. All three can be found bundled together in the first half of ‘Escapists’, an album which will have those who like a reference point casting their minds back to many a British UK indie band. A bit of Tindersticks here, some Chesterfields there, more than a hint of Jim Jiminee – not just the saxophone but the sometimes soul, sometimes frantic pace of their songs.
A careful approach to songwriting clearly in evidence, The Autumn Stones have created an album which – although one song short by my reckoning, but maybe it’s a Canadian thing, albums with only nine tracks. Alvvays are similar culprits – is hard to find fault with even if that was the intent. The new recording of single ‘End of Faith’ is one of the highlights, a brooding swagger of a song that Morrissey could have covered to improve his own last outing. ‘Spirit Shadow’ meanwhile is an angular, feisty example of the perfect three-minute pop song. Final track ‘Dark Age’ is as good an album closer as you will hear this year, encapsulating all the moods entertained in the previous eight tracks and doing exactly what an album closer should do: wrap things up nicely whilst leaving the listener wanting more.
Available on CD and on digital download through Bandcamp, ‘Escapists’ by The Autumn Stones would fit in amongst the majority of the EIO40 community’s various collections, and for only ten Canadian Dollars (about £4.90 in UK money) would make a valuable and much-loved addition.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After spending the best part of twenty five years trying to write the perfect pop song John Hartley has turned his attention to writing about those who have done a much better job at it. He tweets as @JohnyNocash and gives away his music, generally for free. He is currently raising money to support men’s mental health charity CALM (@theCALMzone) at http://brokendownrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-broken-heed.
Thank you to John for a fantastic review and good luck to The Autumn Stones with the album.
Watch out for further reviews, whether it’s re-issues or new releases. If you would like to review something yourself, you know where to find us.