With their self-titled debut, Stonefield have stuck strong to the classic rock vibe they’ve become known for since winning the triple j Unearthed High competition in 2010. The influence of the likes of Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Deep Purple on the four sisters from country Victoria is easy to hear, but adhering so tightly to the conventions of the genre has resulted in something of a mixed bag.
The first three tracks contain all the radio-ready classic rock staples (chugging riffs, screamed vocals and guitar solos), but each one starts at 100 miles an hour and finishes at the same speed without really going anywhere in between. Lead single ‘Put Your Curse On Me’ throws in a misplaced gospel choir, but it doesn’t change the fact the three songs have little to distinguish them and end up blurring into one.
After this relatively poor start, the album improves greatly in the back half as Stonefield give their songs room to breathe and a chance to grow. The result is a much more interesting take on the classic rock sound and provides the variety that is sorely missing from the earlier tracks.
With an acoustic introduction that builds to a menacing chorus, ‘To Whom It May Concern’ is the album highlight, and closing track ‘Keep On Rollin’’ is a slow burner as lead singer Amy Findlay provides the sweetest vocals on the album. Yet between these two standouts, Stonefield unfortunately return to the formula they opened with and turn in the worst song on the album, the clunky and repetitive ‘Baby Blue’.
Despite the poor opening and occasional blunder, the strong back half saves Stonefield’s debut and bodes well for the band’s future efforts.
BY KEIRON COSTELLO
Stonefield is out now through Illusive.