Lady Of The Sunshine - Smoking Gun
Despite gathering success as half of a brother/sister duo with sibling Julia, Angus Stone has found the time to write and record a solo album of material, that, for one reason or another he has decided to release outside the boundaries of Angus & Julia Stone. Also, as most artists revert to their names when leaving the band cocoon to dip their toes in the solo pond, it’s a case of naming his new venture, so……
……Tonight, ladies and Gentlemen, Angus Stone will be……..Lady Of The Sunshine.
All very exciting and intriguing stuff, like finding out who Batman is, a bit. But, is the record any good? Come with me dear travellers, all shall be revealed forthwith. Are we holding a ‘Smoking Gun’ or a damp catapult?
Infectious as it’s understated, ‘Silver Revolver’ rolls along nicely with simple guitars and a delicate piano line that suits Angus’s gravely vocal delivery. It’s the kind of song that you almost fail to notice on first listen but has the habit of re-visiting you at a later date, usually when you’re waiting for a bus or doing something mundane. ‘Anna’ and ‘Lady Sunshine’ are atmospheric acoustic affairs, the latter being particularly enchanting with its Cocteau Twins meets Mazzy Star vibes.
Far from being an album full of the acoustic-bluesy songs akin to his work alongside sister Julia, Lady Of The Sunshine is a multi-dimensional beast, albeit one that wears hippy clothes rather than brandishing its horns. Just check out the Zeppelin riffage of ‘White Rose Parade’, or the White Stripes sound-alike ‘Smoking Gun’ - this man can wield an axe and deliver a full throttled vocal delivery just as well as he can strum an acoustic. Despite promises with the excellent but frustrating ‘Jack Nimble’, among others, the album just fails to take off. It’s ready and primed, sitting on the launch pad and awaiting a countdown, unfortunately, the button never quite gets pushed.
‘Smoking Gun’ isn’t bad, not bad at all, but it isn’t a great album either, it’s just….kind of there, if you know what I mean? At times it is perhaps a bit too meek and understated for its own good, it never demands your attention, or for that matter, even politely asks for it. I can’t prove it, but I’m willing to hedge a guess that Bruce Wayne took a while to feel comfortable in Batman’s cape the first time that he tackled some baddies. Similarly, on the basis of ‘Smoking Gun‘, I’m willing to have a little side bet that it won’t be long before Angus Stone will find the same with Lady Of The Sunshine.