Album Review: Junction by Stonehouse

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It always amazes me the range of genres that can be attached to pieces of music nowadays. Take, for example, Welsh band, Stonehouse, who dabble in the genre of ‘Blues-Rock’ aka Jazz with a bit of heavy guitars. Upon first glance it doesn’t seem like this will work – the down-tempo, soothing beat of blues and jazz matched with the heavy rhythm of rock doesn’t sound like a particularly appealing formula on paper but, pleasantly, the sound of Stonehouse and their new album, ‘Junction’, is quite listenable indeed.

The album’s opening and title track, ‘Junction’, presents the Stonehouse lead singer’s raw vocals which add an emotional depth to this – this is of course, Blues – song and are pleasantly matched with the song’s harmonies and beat. Listening to the track, you get the distinct feeling there’s a bit more pop in the song’s beat and melody than you blues-rock connoisseurs – and I know there must be many of you – would like to admit but the good thing is that this also makes this entire song more listenable and enjoyable than many others might care to admit. No matter what the genre, a song’s hook is a universal need in music fans. You can, of course, just listen to dull, nonsensical and repeated electronic beats but where’s the enjoyment in that?

‘Junction’ – the album, not the song – is a coherent, vibrant and pleasurable album. Stonehouse’s beats, vocals – as raw as I like my steak, and sensual, emotive and addictive – and the up-beat, down-tempo styles of the album contrast each other but, then again, complement each other perfectly. It’s a sort of ying-yang approach that pays off, I find ‘Junction’ to be an extremely heartfelt and emotive album, perfect for listening to when you’re in somewhat of a sombre mood.

The best songs on the album, ‘Wintertime’ and ‘Ceidwad’, are two of the first – at least you know straight off the bat you’re getting two really good songs to, ahem, ‘soak up’. I find ‘Wintertime’ to somewhat harken to a winter of discontent in terms of a relationship, a relationship turned cold, frosty…to ice.

However, this is contrasted by the tracks up-tempo rhythm in some places, placing a possible hope that the relationship could blossom (hey, nice spring reference there) and become fruitful once again. ‘Ceidwad’ definitely channels the rock genre more than the blues genre and its an enjoyable, guitar-filled song…even if you really do have no idea what that name means.

Overall, ‘Junction’ by Stonehouse is an impressive effort. If, like me, you’re very unfamiliar with the Blues-Rock genre this album could very much serve as an enjoyable introduction.

Rating: 4/5

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