Angus Stone is no stranger to the music world, the Australian folk, acoustic singer-songwriter and producer has seen great success over the years, rightly so. Last year, he made his return under the name Dope Lemon with the album ‘Honey Bones’, followed with 5 new tracks in February called ‘Hounds Tooth’, taking on a different path then what we’ve heard in the past. His touch on psychedelia, laid-back vocals with reverb guitars and over-lapping textures has turned something sour into sweet through these past two albums.
It all started out with his older sister Julia Stone, who together as a duo (Angus & Julia Stone), filled charts across the world, producing five EPs, a compilation and two studio albums. This included fantastic tracks such as “Big Jet Plane”, “Paper Aeroplane” and “Grizzly Bear” amongst many others which have revived the folk rock, indie pop and acoustic genre since 2006. Angus has released solo music before, under the name As Lady of the Sunshine with ‘Smoking Gun’ (2009) and as himself with ‘Broken Brights’ in 2012, which included rockier electric parts inspired by The Eagles whilst keeping true to his folk touch of similarities with Neil Young as well as Bob Dylan. Tunes like “Bird On The Buffalo”, “Wooden Chair” or “Monsters” show the lyrical genius behind an artist which cannot stop baffling us with the poetry of his words. Dope Lemon continues the same path but this time, taking on a more electric, psychedelic approach that contains more layers and a laid-back attitude to it. Songs like “Marinade” from the debut album for example, reverbed slobbering vocals with looped electric guitar melodies which work really well together as they transition from verse to chorus, hinting we’re being told a story:
Or with the track “Honey Bones”, where we get major psychedelic vibes reminiscent of The Doors and the 60’s era of trippy, hippy music which goes to show the how far Angus can wander with his material:
The whole 10-track album was an incredible trip (literally), down a path we hadn’t seen Angus take before and it’s the same thing on this new 5-track record, where we get reminded of the places mentally which Dope Lemon can take us to.
“Home Soon” is a fantastic tune, with a jingling guitar, a jumpy flute and other wind instruments supporting lazy vocals to compile into what is the most out-of-place track of this album in terms of its sound, which also happens to be my favorite.
“Neon Lights” dreamy simplicity through the guitars and other instruments makes us feel like we’re drifting with the stars (as sang by Angus), aiming for the sky because “Let’s go, We can forget who we are”.
“Hounds Tooth” has a laid-back, psychedelic feel to it with the echoing vocals, the one-melody directed keyboard part accompanied by ringing guitars and a traveling baseline – right till the end where Angus does what sounds like Tibetan throat singing.
“Lovers Left to Die” with its picky guitar and the baseline providing the backbone, Angus takes us to a place of becoming a fool for love, declaring a certain blindness which makes you “Wanna go to that place, Where it feels like, We’re the only lovers left to die”. “Where Do You Go” is slow paced, dreamy and mystical track wrapped up with reverbed guitars, fuzzy vocals and a catchy “uhuhuhuuuuhhh” which finishes with a piano bringing us back to a more certain state.
Angus Stone has the lyrics to charm any living person, all whilst serenading us with whatever sound/feel he chooses, whether its acoustic/folk or more electric/psychedelic, the man has it all for us. Dope Lemon is a great project which he seems to have invested his time into the past year, ‘Hounds Tooth’ just confirms for us that even though the approach is different, Angus is still the poet that we all know – he’s transcending that more and more with his use of textures, effects, guitar parts and vocals, meaning we can’t wait to get our hands on more material of his.