After achieving mainstream success with their singles “And the Boys” and “Big Jet Plane,” Australian sibling duo Angus & Julia Stone are stepping away from the family business with their own solo acts. While Julia ventured into a realm of pop vibrancy in her solo debut earlier this year, Angus Stone sticks to his guns in his second solo record, Broken Brights. This time, he has his style down to a science, fine-tuning the blues-rock dynamic that occasionally surfaces in his work with Julia.
Similar to the way a sepia tone unites the pictures in an old photo album, the tracks on Broken Brights melt together under an easy-going, hazy aura. While the album rarely rises above a patio-chill level of excitement, it’s by no means sparse. Instrument pairings not often heard from the duo — like the pan flute and banjo — add much-needed depth, drawing the listener into an imaginative musical backcountry of dry summer heat and long stretches of highway.
Stone’s voice has a hypnotic appeal that seduces attention to his careful lyricism. Although he spends most of the album reflecting on the familiar topics of love and loss, he does so with simple yet effective nostalgia. He demonstrates this effect clearly in the title track, where his reference to a time “when we were young” is repeated throughout the chorus, sharing a haunting desire to return to the hedonism of youth.
While it’s not a far cry from Stone’s previous work, this album leaves little more to be desired from new listeners and diehard fans alike. Cohesive and mellow in scope, Broken Brights is the perfect complement to a lazy summer afternoon on the deck.
The remnants of chivalry still linger today, especially in the dating world.