Friday, June 04, 2021

The ‘Sturt’ of Something Special?

The world needs a little calm right now. After the chaos of the last year, Sturt Avenue are bringing some well-needed mellowness to our lives with their genuinely lovely folk album, ‘How Do You Think It Should Be?’ that will surely be played for many late summer nights in the coming months.

 Opener ‘Cannery Row’ is the album’s highlight, providing a nostalgic visit to the night before, after “waking up in last night’s clothes”. 

The track itself is an acoustic ballad with a harmonica adding both depth and the feel of being in the room with the band. 

The album as a whole is made up of comfortable familiarity, especially the final track ‘Stay’ which opens with the applause of a small crowd, a noise that has become quite alien in recent times. It’s also the track where the vocal harmonies between lead singer Bryn Soden and his sister Tarn shine through the most.

The band is comprised of Soden’s father, his sister, and a few close friends. The impression that they all know each other inside and out really comes through on this album, with the accompaniment of slight vocal tics and spot-on harmonies making each track sound like an old friend greeting you back into the group. The gradual build-up of tracks like ‘Lions’ and ‘Over Everything’ really supplements the relaxing vibe of the album and makes every track a perfect companion to the summery days it’s been designed for.

Sturt Avenue’s Dylan-esque harmonica sections offer a knowing nod towards earlier folk songs, a genre that is seeing its classic form die out, with a plethora of ‘twists on the genre’ coming through over the last few years. This album feels like a throwback to earlier folk-rock tracks, without the political messaging that became a cornerstone of the genre. This creates a more jangly, uplifting homage to such classic folk songs, while also expressing their own distinct ‘Australiana’ style, which is most clearly heard on the track ‘Falling’ with its bluesy guitar solo which conjures up images of the Aussie outback at dusk.


The folk nature of the group means that some songs can blur into each other, and I would like to see the group deviate from the formula that they’ve followed so well, in order to avoid fatigue with any future releases. Personally, I’d love to hear more of the blues sound that they tease throughout this album without ever committing to it fully. Hearing Sturt Avenue release a full-blown blues song would be a really interesting prospect, and one that I feel would work well with Soden’s voice. 

Overall, ‘How Do You Think It Should Be?’ is a very strong debut that shows promise. The laidback nature of their music is a welcome release from the panic of everyday life and offers an invitation to the listener to just sit back and lose themselves in gentle acoustic guitar with soft harmonies for an hour. Who could turn that down?


Dominic Asher

Twitter: @DomAsher99

Instagram: @dom.asher

Image: How Do You Think It Should Be? Official Album Artwork (PRESS)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment Here;