The Stone Angels, an ”Alternative’-Rock duo from Torquay, Devon
This new self-titled EP from the band was my first oppotunity to hear the guys play since first discovering them via the LinkedIn website. Reading a bit of their band blog, they formed up back in 2009 as a three piece group touring the local pubs and clubs of Devon and the South West. The guys have since had a reshuffle and thinned themselves down to a duo consisting of just Dan Hughes and Sam Mclver.
Now this kind of move could sound the death-knell for most bands but they seem to have got around the problem of having no bass or keyboard players on stage by the use of a Roland SPD-SX, laying down and recording both the bass and keys backing tracks etc from studio sessions, then using these as part of their live performances! Nothing too unusual these days as this is what some solo artists do all the time ( think Mike Oldfield )! This said these guys have got a lot of talent performing and writing their own material, and they seem to have that necessary ‘hunger’ to go further after being tucked away for too long now down on the English riviera, they have got to be one of the south West’s best kept secrets so far!
Some of the guitar riff’s Dan plays are as good as any I’ve heard from the more well established bands that play the circuits, as are the vocals, and the drum work is on a par with the likes of The Texas Flood, Fire Road and similar bands.
As for this latest EP though, with having only four tracks to listen to has tested me a little, not having yet heard their first album which was released in 2012. My thoughts are tracks two, three and four are the better songs, track one was ok but not for me, although I’m sure hardened dedicated Stone Angles fans will chastise me for that comment! But it’s only my opinion.
Track two, ‘Take Me’ pretty much covers everything you need to make a hit single. Good beat, very easy on the ear for the lyrics and well written. Starting with a combo drum and synth based beat, Dan then takes the lead on vocals bringing in a touch of tambourine and then the song hits you full on with the main chorus. A bit of a cross between a rock meets techno combined theme that works well and the song actually sticks in your head!
Now on track three we’re starting to get a little bit more heavy on the beat and moving more toward what I thought could easily have been a Billy Idol styled song? ‘Have Mercy On Me’ again hits all the right notes, plus unlike Mr Eric Morecambe their all in the correct order this time!! I’m thinking this too could make a good single for radio air play, something these chaps are not unfamiliar with as they have already been featured on BBC Devon the Deuce Radio Show and Amazing Radio. They’ve even had some air play over the pond at cKut FM in Canada and also Sunset Island Music Show in Florida. Not too bad an accolade for a small band from the South West!
The last track on the EP is called ‘Valley Of The Kings’, now this one again is a more rocky type song but this time with a more melodic vocal set up. This song shows that the lads can be really taken seriously and are able to prove that their mature enough to take this duo to the next level. I’d like to see them playing mini festivals, as this is where they need to go next and spread their angel wings over a bigger flock.
I’m no psychic, but my crystal ball tells me I can see a bright future for these two chaps from Torquay!!
The EP was released on 1st January 2015, and was recorded at the Ocean studio’s based in Paignton (Torbay) and produced by Mr Barney Dine.
Dan Hughes – Vocals & Guitar
Sam McIver – Synths, Bass & Drums
Hard Hearted Woman
Have Mercy On Me
Valley Of The Kings