Angus and Julia Stone at the Royal Albert Hall
Siblings Angus and Julia Stone, acolytes of a pop-folk sound that has struggled to prosper in the mainstream beyond Ed Sheeran’s immense celebrity, arrived at their first ever outing at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the European leg of their promotional tour for their fourth studio album, Snow.
Released late last year, the duo’s new compilation has generally been received positively, and has established the Australians as more than capable co-writers (they contributed separately to their first two albums), with a faculty for stirring, psychological lyricism. The album is also self-produced, and their instrumental dexterity was showcased on this tranquil evening brimming with serenity and sensitivity.
What the pair lacked in stage presence and charisma (Julia admitted to paroxysms of nervousness in one of many interludes) was made up for in heartfelt renditions of lovelorn numbers, and songs celebrating the many joys of love. A busy set involved footage of the siblings’ grandparents as Julia played Santa Monica Dream, her plaintive crooning adding to the single’s sorrowful theme.
Coincidentally, this was arguably the only track for which an introductory speech was welcome. Almost every number was addressed with a mundane “how we did it” intro, the dry intervals and uninteresting anecdotes creating the feel of a “Best of Angus and Julia” with commentary edition. The intimacy that should have been garnered by their conversation was lost by the timidity of the act and the majesty of the venue.
But the disconnect between the audience and the band shouldn’t – and couldn’t – detract from an emotive performance that charted a select few of the many grooves of love and its victims. At once, these songs could be personal and universal, a feat of which all eloquent compositions are capable. Passionate renditions of hits such as Big Jet Plane and I’m Not Yours were complemented by an array of strings that could mantle the atmosphere with a melancholic aura. Happily, however, a celebratory coda was enjoyed in the form of a ticker tape-drenched delivery of their most contemporary hit, Chateau.
Photo: James Adams
For further information and future events visit Angus and Julia Stone’s website here.
Watch the video for Chateau here: