Reviewed by Eugenia Vela.
|Rating: 7.0 of 10.|
Stornoway’s debut album, Beachcomber’s Windowsill, played throughout my Mexico City trip this summer. I guess the fact that it rained during most of the trip helped me associate the Oxford, U.K., band’s album with the perfect rainy day. For me, the perfect rainy day doesn’t mean staying in watching reruns, but instead, walking in the rain with the purpose of discovery.
With discovery in mind, I came to find that there lies a truly great adventure in Stornoway’s music. A truly great adventure need not be dangerous, but surprising. And, in the case of Beachcomber’s Windowsill, cathartic. This collection of folksy pop—which is, you’ll hear for yourself, very British—may fall under the same category as the likes of Death Cab, with a touch of Bright Eyes and Shins. But Stornoway’s stories revolve around something more colorful, upbeat, of untraveled roads and nature, with outdoorish charm that is clearly linked to the surroundings of the album’s birth.
Stornoway could’ve built ‘Windowsill as purely instrumental, what with its heavenly harmonies and additions of violin and brass, they have truly created something beautiful. Songs like “Here Comes the Blackout” and “We Are the Battery Human” (my favorite) uncover the more bluegrass-oriented style of the band, concocting a smart and particularly cartoonish form of storytelling.
What won me over is that this collection is chockfull of variety—the parts are related through their themes of unrequited love and flashing images of moors and perfectly imagined sounds of tranquil water, but Beachcomber’s Windowsill is fantastic in its range of melody. From folk to pop, to country to a more fifties rock in “Watching Birds,” and a heartbreaking ballad in “The End of The Movie,” the band managed to perfect the idea of a plot within a story within an album, where there’s enough movement to keep you interested, yet you remember that every song takes place in the same whimsical setting.