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Waves meet mountains.
Stone From The Sky have been making a name for themselves since 2012, travelling Europe for live gigs that left audiences blown away. After a change of drummers and signing with More Fuzz Records in 2019, the band now releases Songs From The Deepwater, following Fuck The Sun from 2017 and Break A Leg from 2019.
It’s safe to say that a lot has happened for the Heavy Psych meets Post Rock trio from Le Mans, France, and this translates into their newest album. Songs From The Deepwater is highly versatile, explorative of a bunch of different music genres, and very well composed.
If you’re looking for music that takes you on a journey and challenges taste buds and imagination alike, this is the album for you.
How’s The Sound?
There’s a lot to unpack here. The seven deepwater songs unfold themselves slowly, taking multiple spins before you can really appreciate the depths. Kind of like the Moray Eels from the cover, a kind of fish that will wait patiently until you’ve managed to dive deep enough, and then grab you. My suggestion would be to listen multiple times with volume wide open, so as to not miss any of the many nuances this album has to offer.
Starting off with “Godspeed”, that almost seems to wish you good luck on your trip. It has a fairly long build-up, creeping and ominous. As soon as it accelerates, the attention is drawn by the percussion. The agile drum line lifts the spirits a bit, without any hurry to arrive at some kind of climax too soon. The velocity drops once more, back to the heavy bass from the beginning. Not to worry, the ‘big release’ will come, and this is where the composition takes a post-rock turn. But what I appreciate is that, one song into the album, the listener already has to conclude that this band is not easily labelled by one genre.
Following up, “Le Squinfus” is way more in your face. The threatening intro returns, but it doesn’t leave you waiting for long. It builds up and then explodes before you know it. Just a very satisfying track, though never plain. I won’t go all analytic describing the composition of every song (and rob you of all the fun), other than pointing out that the title is a funny one: meaning ‘imaginary illness’ as far as I understand. Do with that what you will. Either way, the song counteracts its predecessor and the one that comes next, showing that there are moments for restraint and for letting go, and Stone From The Sky knows exactly where to place them.
“Karoshi” is the Japanese word for ‘working yourself to death’. You just have to love how Japanese has a word for every concept imaginable. What it says about the third track? Not sure, I hope it doesn’t refer to the overall state of our band members because I want to enjoy their music a little while longer. “Karoshi” offers a complete different dynamic and ‘feel’ again, with more emphasis on the bass guitar. Albeit a little more toned down, this track is in no way superfluous. Honestly, none of the songs on this album is.
So no silence before the storm kind of thing, but it’s a storm that comes. Because what follows is “The Annapurna Healer”, which is definitely my favourite. I visualize a mountain storm while listening, with big gusts of wind. Okay, maybe this is because Annapurna is a mountain in the Himalayas. But still. The thing with instrumental music is, it leaves the opportunity for interpretation and imagination wide open. So when you get hit by those heavy psych riffs, they almost become visual and tangible somehow. At least I felt like I was going 200 miles per hour.
This fourth track is heavy on the bass, the drums, and the guitar, the whole works. It blazes right through you and suddenly ends, leaving everything shattered. Has the whole album been building up to this point? That would do the first three tracks no justice. But there’s a certain dynamic to be discovered by now, big waves reaching for mountain tops.
“City | Angst” is next. If this album is anything like a reflection of our time: well, who doesn’t get anxious in the city right now? Stone From The Sky made a video clip for this song:
At this point, Songs From The Deepwater turns a lot more introspective, lamenting almost, without fading to background music. That Stone From The Sky is not done surprising you is proven by “49.3 Nuances de fuzz”, where oriental melodies come into play. The sound here is a lot less foreboding, though initially, this song had me wondering if the record started over again. The guitar riff these nuances start out with creates a déjà vu effect, and is definitely a recurring element throughout the album. In come distortion and high tempo to end this feeling, with screaming guitars that bring about a psychedelic sound to add to the dimensions we have heard so far.
And there are a lot of dimensions. Whether explained as a multitude of musical influences, or by the high contrasts in atmosphere, it took me a while to take in Songs From The Deepwater. The album is well-rounded and cohesive, but full of diversity and subtle developments at the same time. The individual tracks speak for themselves, free of predictability or cheap thrills, yet the overall composition is intelligent and ambitious without ever feeling forced.
After Fuck The Sun and Break A Leg, Stone From The Sky have found a more crystalized sound, have grown harder to pin down nonetheless. Just when you think you’ve heard it all, the final track “Talweg” introduces vocals. And nice ones too, later on complemented by acoustic guitar. It’s more of an outro, this song, a very unexpected one, but perfect to conclude this dive.
Why is this album worth listening to?
- It’s a perfect example of how (instrumental) records can work like puzzles. It’s up to you as a listener to explore the depths, cross-references, and meaning. The experience of listening will change and develop the more you listen to it.
- It offers a progressive take on the combination of post-rock and stoner.
- Because you want to come well prepared for their live gigs. And everyone agrees that their live performances are a must-see, so keep an eye on their tour dates too.
In what situation should you listen to this album?
This might sound oddly specific, but after coming out of a burning hot sauna I like to lie on the floor and cool down. This music corresponding with your pounding head and heart really transports you right to other dimensions. A hot bath in a cold room is another option, or any other situation where you are at liberty to completely clear your head of all distractions.
Anything particular to note?
Songs from the Deepwater is still in pre-order on our webshop, in a beautiful clear purple marbled with dark purple edition. You can also find their previous albums there too 😉
For Fans Of
RotoR, Somali Yacht Club, Mantra Machine, The Whirlings, Void Cruiser
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