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Stornoway

Beachcomber’s Windowsill - 2024 Reissue

    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 magnificent; a Constable landscape of a record.”
    The album is complemented by a stunning sleeve by designer Chris Bigg, who has played on the album’s title and their songs about nature by working with illustrations of shells, aquatic life and old maps. 


    TRACK LISTING

    1. Zorbing
    2. I Saw You Blink
    3. Fuel Up
    4. The Coldharbour Road
    5. Boats And Trains
    6. We Are The Battery Human
    7. Here Comes The Blackout
    8. Watching Birds
    9. On The Rocks
    10. The End Of The Movie
    11. Long Distance Lullaby

    Stornoway

    Tales From Terra Firma - 2024 Reissue

      Stornoway followed up ‘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 influence on them) midway to help them achieve their vision. It worked too. By being true to themselves and remaining oblivious to outside influences, 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 foreach ‘tale’ on the album, presenting a strip cartoon-like depiction of the adventures in the life of the main protagonist.


      TRACK LISTING

      1. You Take Me As I Am
      2. Farewell Appalachia
      3. The Bigger Picture
      4. (A Belated) Invite To Eternity
      5. Hook, Line, Sinker
      6. Knock Me On The Head
      7. The Great Procrastinator
      8. The Ones We Hurt The Most
      9. November Song

      Stornoway

      Beachcomber's Windowsill - Dinked Archive Edition

        Back from a hiatus and with a new album, Stornoway are today announcing a super limited Dinked Edition of their 2010 debut album, ‘Beachcomber’s Windowsill’.

        Out of print on vinyl since release and now highly collectable, ‘Beachcomber’s Windowsill’ is as its title suggests and 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, it quickly attained Silver status in the UK and critical acclaim included The Observer praising 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 magnificent; a Constable landscape of a record.” Complemented by a stunning sleeve by designer Chris Bigg who was influenced by the album’s title and their songs about nature, working in illustrations of shells, aquatic life and old maps.

        This special Dinked Edition will see the album being pressed on eco-vinyl and will come with an exclusive obi strip, art print and lyric book, all using FSC-approved card and paper. Limited to just 500 copies, it’s available to pre-order now from any of the Dinked network of UK independent stores and will be on the shelves from December 8th.


        TRACK LISTING

        Side A
        Zorbing
        I Saw You Blink
        Fuel Up
        The Coldharbour Road
        Boats And Trains
        We Are The Human Battery
        Side B
        Here Comes The Blackout…!
        Watching Birds
        On The Rocks
        The End Of The Movie
        Long Distance Lullaby

        Stornoway

        Dig The Mountain

          During their original run, Stornoway achieved immense critical acclaim, fan adoration and two Top 20 albums, one of which (their debut ‘Beachcomber’s Windowsill’) was certified Silver. But in 2016 they announced that they were ending on a high (2015’s ‘Bonxie’ being “their best album yet” according to The Guardian) with the following year’s farewell tour, although their rapturously received WOMAD set (“a magnificent farewell”, The Spectator) was delayed until 2022. They still earned new fans, however, when their version of ‘The Only Way Is Up’ exceeded 2 million streams after being used in an advert and in various TV shows. Vocalist/guitarist Brian Briggs stopped songwriting altogether and instead pursued a new career passion managing a wetland for water voles and lapwings.

          Nonetheless, Brian and bandmates Jon Ouin (keyboard) and Oli Steadman (bass) stayed in touch, and step-by-step they reconnected with the love of creating music that had first inspired them to start a band. With Brian writing in a makeshift studio on a remote coastal hilltop and Jon readying a series of ideas of his own, eventually an entirely unexpected fourth Stornoway album emerged - ‘Dig The Mountain!’

          TRACK LISTING

          1. ‘Trouble With The Green’
          2. ‘Bag In The Wind’
          3. ‘Anwen’
          4. ‘Dig The Mountain!’
          5. ‘It’s Not Up To You’
          6. ‘The Fisherman’
          7. ‘Sea Legs’
          8. ‘The Navigator’
          9. ‘The Manatee’
          10. ‘Kicking The Stone’
          11. ‘Excelsior’ 

          Stornoway

          Bonxie Unplucked EP

            Though their latest top 20 album, Bonxie, was their most electronic release to date Stornoway are best known (and possibly best loved) for their compelling acoustic performances. Magic is conjured by their use of traditional instrumentation, the Steadman brothers' sibling harmonies; making up the four parts with Jon Ouin and the clear, true, spell of lead singer Brian Briggs' voice.

            The band's love for wildlife, the outdoors and of course Brian's PhD in Ornithology are at the forefront of their message, underlined by their recent tour of RSPB nature reserves: The Shags and Ducks and Rock 'n' Roll Tour. Combined with Stornoway's passion for playing unplugged shows, it seems completely natural, in every sense of the word, for them to produce a study of Bonxie that takes the listener back to its evolutionary beginnings.

            The Unplucked EP presents acoustic versions of five songs from Bonxie: Between the Salt Marsh and the Sea, Get Low, Man On Wire, The Road You Didn't Take, Lost Youth and a cover of Yazz's 1988 hit The Only Way Is Up. The songs are stripped of their plumage and their unadorned, skeletal simplicity is revealed. As the band extolled on one of their first ever releases The Battery Human, we need to unplug and "Fix our loose connection out in the natural world wide web". So tune in, turn on and drop out with Unplucked by Stornoway

            TRACK LISTING

            1: Between The Saltmarsh And The Sea (Acoustic)
            2: Get Low (Acoustic)
            3: Man On Wire (Acoustic)
            4: The Road You Didn't Take (Acoustic)
            5: Lost Youth (Acoustic)
            6: The Only Way Is Up (Acoustic) 

            Indie-folk ensemble Stornoway return with third album Bonxie. For the first time the band enlisted a producer to captain the ship and the man in charge was none other than Gil Norton. Noted for his work with Pixies, Foo Fighters, Twin Atlantic, etc. Gil certainly rocked Stornoway’s world and shook them out of their comfort zones; helping them cut to the chase, sizing up the new songs and shaping them with raptor precision. Joining Gil and Stornoway in the studio was none other than Craig Potter (Elbow) who mixed the track Man on Wire.

            Whilst Stornoway’s second album ‘Tales From Terra Firma’ was concerned with very personal stories: life’s (and death’s) big questions, Bonxie is far more outward looking. It is infused with a humanistic ideal; a sense of humility and wonderment for the forces of nature, a desire and need for mutual regard and for a respect towards each other and the environment. Each song on Bonxie is a facet of the album which opens up like an origami bird. It is a construction of nature by humans but each song unfolds as a unique species, shape and call.


            TRACK LISTING

            1: Between The Saltmarsh And The Sea
            2: Get Low
            3: Man On Wire
            4: The Road You Didn't Take
            5: Lost Youth
            6: Sing With Our Senses
            7: We Were Giants
            8: When You're Feeling Gentle
            9: Heart Of The Great Alone
            10: Josephine
            11: Love Song Of The Beta Male

            Stornoway

            Tales From Terra Firma

              Stornoway's second album, Tales From Terra Firma, is an album of stories – birth, death, marriage, coming of age: The Big Stuff. The songs were mostly written in a camper van in land-locked Oxford but on listening, the yearning for adventure and the freedom of the coast and wild places is palpable. As is true of classic songwriting partnerships, lyricist Brian Briggs? eloquence coupled with his crystalline voice unite with Jon Ouin?s stunning arrangements and alchemise to form a musical mirror. Tales From Terra Firma reflects powerful life experiences, the great outdoors and the passing of time, which is a major theme of the album. And with that, Stornoway have self-produced a record that marks a new sophistication in compositional and, in particular, lyrical qualities, while still retaining the charm of their debut that so many fell in love with.

              And so to the songs themselves. Brian suggests: “The title of the album conjures up for me, the romantic notion of an adventurer, exploring new lands and reporting on his experiences. Discovering what it is to be human and an enthusiasm for adventure, which I feel is true of me.” This notion was seized upon by drummer Rob Steadman who worked in conjunction with artist Kirini Kopcke to bring an action-adventure sensibility to the album?s artwork. Inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Hergé and Ukiyo-e and using the ligne claire style, the aim was, as in the songs, to contrast the drama and adventure of the high seas with something very rooted in the real world.

              Bass player and other band multi-instrumentalist Oli Steadman transformed into the band?s “super geeky esoteric experimentalist” as well as tutor to Brian in the finer points of learning Logic. Oli and Rob?s parents? garage in Oxford became band HQ: Stornostudios. It was here that they together brought Tales From Terra Firma into being. Whilst the band strengthened their grip on experimenting, arranging, song writing and the accompanying artwork; the majority of the tracks are simple, melodic pop songs that are warm and inviting and quintessentially Stornoway


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