One of them hides under the brim of his cap and murmurs softly. The other swaps between guitars, keyboards and trumpet, sings like a laconic kitten and wears a pair of quietly golden shoes that chime with the decor in this atmospheric
You get the feeling that, although these Australian siblings have been together in some form since childhood, they are less twin souls in the project that bears their names than twin poles, thrown together by logic and forces greater than even that. Not a great deal actually happens on
The Stones are the kind of wide-open-road Australians who gravitate naturally towards Americana, and a few years ago they were set to be the next big thing in low-key folk-pop. Their quietly insidious 2010 song Big Jet Plane (an Angus tune) allied some brightly optimistic lyrics to a tune beaten into woebegone submission. Despite (or perhaps because of) this, it ended up advertising
The Stones got to that tipping point organically enough - becoming biggish in Oz, moving to
Having got this far, however, the siblings split up. It's still unclear why. Each Stone now has a couple of solo records to their name. Just as folk probably throws up more family bands than most other genres (the Waterson-Carthy clan, First Aid Kit), pop is littered with the charred carcasses of sibling relationships (the Kinks, Oasis). It seemed A&J would join their ranks, until a chance hearing of their music at a party by one of the most influential men in the western culture industry readjusted that trajectory.
Angus & Julia's forthcoming third album is produced by
Heart Beats Slow, a new duet, closes the set. Their slurred lines trade off eloquently; unsurprisingly, they seem to be saying goodbye to one another. A Heartbreak, which opens the set, is another new co-write, where the siblings' lines fall messily, and winningly, on top of each other. On their forthcoming record, and live, Angus & Julia are significantly better honed than before, while keeping all the dusty somnambulance that charmed their earlier audiences.
It's not all magic. There is the suspicion here that the Stones' works are perhaps a bit more shabby-chic than genuinely ravaged by the elements; it's also regrettable that the highlights of tonight's set are two covers. Julia reworks
'Sweetly bleak': Julia &
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