England - Full Moon 168 - 05/28/10
4AD / Playground
Stornoway have been hailed as saviours of quality pop in Britain, and Britain's most talented young band. The fab four - Brian Briggs, Ollie Steadman, Rob Steadman,
Jonathan Ouin - started out "in a snow-encrusted garage in Oxford" some years ago, when lead singer and (principal) songwriter
Briggs approached and asked Ouin if he liked Teenage Fanclub. Briggs (vocals/guitar) and Ouin (keys/banjo/guitar/cello) started playing, and rumour goes they entered the
"...college talent competition, where they were runners-up to a group of Norse singers, and received a consolation prize of a
large bowl of fruit"! Brothers Steadman, Ollie (bass) and Rob (drums), were eventually recruited as the rhythm section, and the band worked hard, until Tim Bearder,
a DJ from BBC Oxford, discovered Stornoway and saw their potential. As the saying goes: the snowball...
But, it's been taking quite some time to unroll their recordings. Stornoway's spent more than 5 years making their debut album. After hearing the brilliant
I Saw You Blink single a few months back, I was totally charmed, and has been awaiting Beachcomber's Windowsill ever since. Their
other (actually their debut?) single, "Zorbing", was another bull's eye pop-song, out of Stornoway's folk-pop veins. So, could Beachcomber's Windowsill actually be
as good as I was hoping for. Yes, it is. This is the soundtrack to the summer of 2010, and possibly one of the better albums of the year. I recall my old-time favourites
The Trash Can Sinatras in some of the style and attitude. The 11 songs on Beachcomber's Windowsill radiate with elegance, punch and harmony. Here are layers of
sound and myriads of instruments, taking the songs to different levels and in various directions. All of them done with a big heart and with a good sense of humour.
It's quite easy to pick favourites here, in fact the entire album is solid gold. The singles, of course, the Pulp-meets-Prefab Sprout (yes, that sounds weird) "Watching
Birds", the light traveller "Boats And Trains", plus the beautiful "The End Of The Movie". And, last but not least, the closing "Long Distance Lullaby". Beachcomber's
Windowsill is a powerful and colourful pop album. Stornoway unveil precious pop gems and fascinating storytelling. Like they state on their Myspace-site: "a living,
breathing Mark Twain novel". Perfect pop forever.
Copyright © 2010 Håvard Oppøyen