Album: Stornaway, Beachcomber's Windowsill (4AD)
There's an air of suspension about the eleven songs on Stornoway's debut, perhaps indicative of a band perched on the cusp of studenthood and real life.
A seabird wheels above the Arctic in "The Coldharbour Road"; a lovestruck youth drifts in romantic reverie in "I Saw You Blink"; and in "Fuel Up", songwriter Brian Briggs jump-cuts from being a nine-year-old back-seat passenger to driving the car nine years later. He switches transport for "Boats And Trains", a happy tale of drifting, and then manages to connect with a fellow drifter – possibly Jon Ouin, whose strings and keyboards furnish the varied song textures on Beachcomber's Windowsill. It's pleasant in parts, if a touch earnest; but crucially, as "Watching Birds" confirms, they can't rock'n'roll for toffee.
Download this: Boats And Trains; Zorbing; I Saw You Blink