Tales From Terra Firma
The Oxford four-piece Stornoway, who have never actually visited the remote Scottish town they are named after, return with a self-produced second album Tales From Terra Firma. This time around, the lyrical quality is more polished than the band’s 2010 critically acclaimed debut effort Beachcomber’s Windowsill, with the lead vocalist and lyricist Brian Briggs tackling complex lyrical subject matter, which makes for a more compelling listen. A musical exploration of thematic extremes runs throughout this album, beginning with a marriage and ending with death. The lo-fi indie vibes of the lead single Knock Me on the Head encapsulates what the band is all about, with its heartfelt lyrics and uber-catchy chorus. The Bigger Picture is reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel and the acoustic Farewell Appalachia exhibits the band’s versatility. At times, the band seems to get lost within their own songs and the album’s average track length of five minutes can leave the listener a bit jaded. However, the band’s refreshingly optimistic and upbeat approach to their music is a welcome change to the alternative folk scene and is likely to gain them a cult following.
* Reem Buhazza