Australia’s Angus and Julia Stone team up with famed producer Rick Rubin in their newest LP — the self-titled, Angus and Julia Stone. Rubin only works with the best artists at the height of their career, so it’s telling that he chose to spend his time with the Stone siblings. From the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Kanye West, Rubin can seemingly succeed with any genre. Here, Rubin lives up to his status as the go-to guru, helping Angus and Julia Stone reach another level in their most consistent and transcendent release to date.
Angus and Julia Stone puzzled in the past. They showed the ability to pen hit tracks with “Big Jet Plane” and “Just a Boy.” Yet, their albums always had a hit-or-miss quality. The hits soared while the misses lulled. Comedian Louis C.K. says that as an entertainer grows, the performer’s high bar should rise, but the low bar should rise too, coming closer to the high bar. Angus and Julia Stone live up to that mantra on their latest release.
The hits — like intro track, “A Heartbreak” — demonstrate the duo’s knack for crafting a lead single. Angus and Julia Stone thrives, though, in its consistency. Every track offers something interesting and dynamic to keep you plugged in. The album features a nice blend of male and female dominated vocals, and some songs where they both take the lead simultaneously. The duo connects with fast and slow songs alike. The lyrics show depth and the song-writing demonstrates experience and great care. While some songs connect more than others, the low bar comes very close to the high bar on this album.
Rubin captures the sounds well. The songs have a darkness in the background that compliments the pathos in the song-writing. The instruments all come cleanly, the different noises balance well, and the vocals sound precise. It feels like the songs come to the listener with minimal interference, which works superbly with the affective vocals of the duo songwriters. The album has a lot of diversity and all of the different styles connect – much because of Rubin’s excellent decision-making. This may end up as Angus and Julia Stone’s opus. It’s a transcendent gem, well representing the self-title, Angus and Julia Stone.