Apr 16, 2021
By Hayden Godfrey
Sydney’s Julia Stone, who is perhaps best known for her lovely collaborations with her brother, Angus, has one of indie’s most delicate voices, a trait she’s used to help craft relaxed, congenial indie folk since the pair’s debut in 2007. On Sixty Summers, she ditches her folksy membrane and embraces divergent, vibrant pop reminiscent of the mid-’80s. For her first solo effort in nearly a decade, it’s certainly different from what would be expected.
To the credit of Stone and co-producers St. Vincent and Doveman, all 13 songs have a cohesive sound that ties the record together. From the round, warm piano of “We All Have” to the sparkly, groovily octaved “Easy” to the infectiously open chorus of “Queen,” it’s very clear that Stone’s approach is holistic and focused. For the most part, the melodies are dexterous and appealing, using Stone’s flexible timbre as a centerpiece. Rather disappointingly though, she often has to compete against walls of voltaic backbeats (“Unreal,” “Who”), drawing attention away from her whispery delivery, which is arguably her most intriguing quality.
Sixty Summers has its moments, but is too frequently bogged down by electronic esoterica that takes away the salience of Stone’s airy articulation. Still, it’s fun, danceable, and wonderfully appealing to any fan of Stone’s darker, more reflective side. (www.juliastonemusic.com)
Author rating: 6.5/10
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