Stornoway are an indie folk band from Oxford, named after a rather small town in the Outer Hebrides of the Scottish Highlands. Geographically this is all somewhat confusing, but Stornoway (the band not the town) have been dubbed the most exciting thing to emerge from the UK’s folk scene since Mumford and Sons. After appearing on last years series of “Later on… Jools Holland”, Stornoway were suddenly propelled to indie folk stardom. Their debut album has been eagerly awaited since, and was finally released in May.
So what of Beachcombers Windowsill? At first their charm and ability to write melodic bouncy songs is both obvious and pleasant. But this album, unlike so many recent folk albums has a great deal more to it. Stornoway possess a wonderful originality, and most importantly a sense of authenticity. This is not a band that has simply progressed from playing indie rock music to indie folk music (ehum…. Bombay Bicycle Club), instead they are a folk band, period. Not that there is anything wrong with BBC’s latest acoustic alum Flaws, it just doesn’t sound as genuine as Beachcombers Windowsill.
Understand it like this… Stornoway sound like the British countryside, you can picture them on a farm with their own free-range chickens (listen to ‘We Are The Battery Human’ for this reference), or rolling down the grassy meadows in a large inflatable ball (‘Zorbing’). Thus the real beauty of this album is not just the catchy tunes and pleasant melodies, but that when you listen to it, you feel like as though you could be in the countryside with them. This ability to transport the listener to another place, in this case Oxfordshire, is the mark of a truly great band. And Stornoway succeed spectacularly.
From Daniel Rothman.