Thursday, 11 April 2013

Desert Island Discs 23 The Beachcomber's Windowsill by Stornoway

23 Beachcomber's Windowsill by Stornoway 2010

The all conquering Mumford and Sons have tended to throw all folky pop bands in their shadow. A lot of great bands have got lost in their wake. One of those Stornoway released the freshest debut lp for years.

Melodies to get lost in and a kind of enthusiastic naivety in the lyrics that can only come from a debut lp.

It has an opening 5 songs as strong as any lp , leading off with the gorgeous Zorbing

"Conkers shining on the ground , the air is cooler and I feel like I've just started uni" with an opening line that mentions conkers and uni , they capture a sense of nostalgia that 20 somethings have no right to

The feeling continues and reaches a peak with Fuel Up. Starting with a sigh it is on old man's song in a young band

And it's nine more years you've been driving now
But tonight you're stumbling through your old town
You met up with a schoolfriend who's still just the same
And you talked all the same shit you talked in those days
And now you're drunk and you're sad for the old times passing you by
For there's no rewind so you might as well play while your time is rolling away

"Home is only a feeling you get in your mind  from the people you  love and you travel beside"

There is a real sense of innocence in the sing along pop songs but as with the video there is a dark undercurrent

However among the catchy tunes there are a number of gorgeous  end of the affair songs

including these 2

Cut through the whimsy and there is a real emotional depth without falling into over sincerity

Boats and trains by Stornoway

You can buy one of the best debut of recent years here.

I've been listening to the just released  follow up  and it seems more of a grower , more complex but without some of that joyful innocence that made the debut some good


  1. - Wow, this a surprise. I've only got Zorbing and Blink from magazine sampler CD's. I intended to pick up the album, but probably got distracted by the Mumford debut which I had high expectations for after hearing the "The Cave" - but the vocals gave me nausea before I got half way through the darned thing. Stornaway seem a little more agreeable to these sensitive ears. I promise to check it out...

    #23 - JAMES - Laid (1993)

    - I'm sure I'll take an ass-kicking for this placement, but we are in the home-stretch... I hate to call James a great singles band, but I do find most albums a bit patchy & Booth's melodramatics can be wearing. 'Laid' however, is quite solid and "Sometimes" one of the finest songs ever written...

  2. I brought this on the strength of Zorbing and the title.
    Played it a couple of times; loved it's naiveté and then never returned to it. I wonder why?
    It's the sort of winsome pleasure that Israel Phil keeps pushing me towards. I'm currently listening to his 'Best of 2012' selection and it's chock full of anonymous delights; I've lost his track sheet. Phil is responsible for me loving the Leisure Society and Mostar Diving Club; both who could easily slip unnoticed into Stornaway's tour bus (a VW camper van I'm sure).
    Never really got James TT; surprised that you have let something 'quite solid' sully your top 30...

  3. Due to Zorbing being all over the internet at the time and it being a great song I took a punt on the album , very good it is too but top 30? I'll have to go back and give it a few more listens
    #23 Butcher Boy - Helping Hands. The band had made 2 great albums before this but this really was a massive leap forward. I'm still playing this at least once a week some 2 years on.
    'The Day Our Voices Broke'
    I see Stornaway have a new album out....any good?

  4. TJ: "Quite" is an ambiguous term. I meant it in the positive sense. I'm surprised you're not a fan of James' fabulous singalong anthems. "Sometimes" lyrics alone worth the price of admission... And how can you not love the trumpet intro & Booth's Indian war cry whoops of "Born Of Frustration"...
    DA will back me on this one!!!


  5. OK, more frickin' homework...

  6. I kin do f think this made the top 30 as I'm pretty sure I would have loved it if it had been released anytime over the last 30 years - despite the "folky " flavouring it feels a bit of a throwback and fits into the whole Danny Wilson / Bible mix

    I'm with you Tim as you will soon see - Trev if you listen to one James lp make it Laid (or their debut Stutter - although everytime I've done a james post my blog stats have dropped
    through the floor so you are not alone in not really getting them

    Phil - agree - this one was a major step up for them


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