As its title suggests, Stornoway’s 2010 debut album, Beachcomber’s Windowsill, is something of a treasure.
Featuring singles ‘Fuel Up’, ‘I Saw You Blink’ and ‘Zorbing’, it showed just why so many were excited by the Oxford indie-folk quartet’s arrival - a DIY guitar band unusually rooted in folk tradition. They stood out further with their deft ability to try their hand at most instruments, never shy to experiment while their pure pop harmonies soared.
Warmly received on release, Beachcomber’s Windowsill quickly attained Silver status in the UK and among the many positive reviews, The Observer praised it for having a “real emotional depth that transports their music from throwaway sunny songs to something altogether more poignant and enduring”, while the NME called it “beautifully rendered and melodically magnifi cent; a Constable landscape of a record.”
Oxford indie-folk quartet Stornoway followed up their celebrated 2010 debut album, Beachcomber’s Windowsill, in 2013 with Tales From Terra Firma.
Ten this year, Tales From Terra Firma is an album of stories – birth, death, marriage and coming of age. Featuring the singles ‘The Bigger Picture’ and ‘Farewell Appalachia’, it was recorded and produced by the band in the main at their own Oxford space, bringing in mix engineer George Shilling (having loved his work with Teenage Fanclub, a huge infl uence on them) midway to help them achieve their vision. It worked too.
By being true to themselves and remaining oblivious to outside infl uences, they made a truly special album where life is unfurled for the listener. The Guardian said in their full marks review that there’s “no curse of the second album for Stornoway, who’ve stretched out without losing sight of the intimacy of their charming debut.”
For its sleeve, the band worked with the artist Kirini Kopcke who used fragments of lyrics as her start point to create a picture for each “tale” on the album, presenting a strip cartoon-like depiction of the adventures in the life of the main protagonist.