"We tried to make each song a bit unique - we even went to the extent of teaching ourselves how to play new instruments and ways to record them. That's why we thought the album title could work, because it's a bit of an odd collection of bits and bobs that we've accumulated over the past few years,” explains Brian Briggs, lead singer and lyricist of Stornoway.
A collection of songs their debut album, Beachcomber’s Windowsill, may be but these melodies and lyrics together, form a beguiling whole.
The Oxford quartet have used a kind of alchemy to combine startling harmonies - at times reminiscent of barber shop quartets, at others far more choral, pure with perfect pop refrains all rooted in very traditional, British grassroots songsmithery. Tapping into a subject matter as diverse as New Zealand adrenaline sports, natural history and car journeys, Stornoway distill very personal subject matter and experiences into crystalline classics and crucially love songs that revive the most jaded of hearts.
Despite the last year’s media focus, the band manage to retain a solid sense of innocence, this and a strong DIY ethic (producing and recording most of the album themselves) mean that Beachcomber’s Windowsill will probably bring Stornoway a whole lot more in the way of attention and never has a band deserved it more.
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The band will also be performing a number of instores to celebrate the release, today at HMV's Oxford Street branch 18:00GMT and tomorrow (25/05) at Rough Trade on Talbot Road at 18:00GMT.
"Poignant and enduring" The Observer
"Stornoway tug at every emotional fibre in the body" NME
"Our new favourite band" The Guardian
"The first great album of the summer" The Times
"Truly billows the heart" The Telegraph
"It's hard not to be felled by the utter gorgeousness of this record" BBC
"Like a blast of sea air that hits you as you alight an overnight train" Mojo
"'Watching Birds' is surely the most vibrant song ever written" Financial Times
Watch the band performing 'Watching Birds' above from the record following their performance at Radio 1's Big Weekend 2010 this weekend. For more information on Stornoway, head to the band's official website here and for full 2010 tour dates head here.