Thanks to my sister for this music post. This is the same sister who I was confident hadn’t heard any music except a Beatles song since … well … the Beatles broke up <purely out of respect … and assuming pretty much everything would suck after the Beatles>.


The band is Stornoway <named after a Scottish town which … oddly … seems to be used on all UK televised weather reports> and they are not Scottish but English.

Oddly <part 2>. The band had never been to Stornoway when they decided to name themselves after the town.

I will say this about Stornoway … they do have a Beatles-esque feel about them … despite having what I would call an altfolk-pop feel to their music. When I heard their music I kind of thought Decemberists but British.

Let me explain by digressing for a moment … English bands seem to have this type of pop melodic writing sensibility better than any other place in the world. While band after band tries to emulate the Lennon-McCartney tandem vocals <people seem to overlook how that combination allowed a unique harmony bridge in so many of their songs which transitioned what could have been a simple ‘diddy’ into a more complex vocal interpretation> the contemporary English band gives us that iconic voice and harmonious melodic almost ‘waif-like’ pop feel … time after time <think Scars on 45, The Contrast, Morning Headlight, even Oasis, etc.>. So while I mentioned the Decemberists <who are blatantly american pacific northwest sounding> Stornoway has their feel but with that British iconic sensibility that the Decemberists could never conjure up.

Anyway. It’s all good stuff. It ain’t the Beatles … but good.

These guys?

Its … well … a kind of more delicate version of contemporary pop. They seem to avoid the fast paced jangly lower register pop that comes out of our top 40 speakers these days … but they nuance an eclectic mix of lyrics <and themes> with some impeccable harmonies, an iconic English lead vocal and a mix of acoustic & electric guitar <and some obscure instruments>.

I will admit … I absolutely love how they write the rhythm bed for their songs. It creates a really listenable foundation upon which the rest of the song can kind of flutter over sometimes reaching down to a solid riff or groove … and then reaching up to some really beautiful lighter harmonies.

Mentioning what I like … what I dislike, or worry about, their music … because they seem to have a nice nuanced delicate feel to how they craft their songs … which are delightful when everyone in the band is blended together … they sometimes seem to be unable to resist the temptation to bring up the volume and lose the delicious little details that make their songs wonderful. I call this the “Black Keys disease.” It is a disease where a band almost thinks their song is too ‘neat & tidy’ so that they consciously build in a chaotic section <can be a clangy solo or a group instrument grope> to create a little discordance.

Too bad. I hope as they mature they kick that disease.

I would imagine they would be great to see & hear in a smaller club but would struggle in a larger venue to avoid what I disdainfully call “the Mumford festival noise” playing style, i.e. ‘the louder I play alt-folk the cooler it must sound to everyone’ attitude.

What that means to me is that Stornoway is not an  ‘up-the-volume’ band.

Doesn’t mean they can’t be upbeat … but loud will never be their thing.


Because I mentioned Mumford …  these guys are much much better than Mumford Sons and Lumineers … and maybe as good as Decemberists.

I am including the song my sister sent me “I saw you blink” from their first cd … as well as a song I like better “the bigger picture” and a couple good songs off their newest cd <earlier this year I believe>.


First song I was shared.

I saw you blink:


I like this even better.

The bigger picture:



Knock me on the Head:




This is good stuff I had never heard until my big sis sent me.

Written by Bruce