My first experience of Stornoway came in seeing them at the bottom of last year's Glastonbury festival bill, and despite never getting around to watching them play that year, coming across them again months later somewhere on the internet was an unexpected, but welcome surprise. They remain unsigned despite recently making it on to the BBC's sound of 2010 longlist, being introduced on Radio 1 (and soon XFM) and picking up mentions in the esteemed music section of the News of The World, as well as that of The Guardian and Independent. All of this coming from a band who are yet to release an album or even sign to a label. Their self released debut 7" 'Zorbing' came out Monday 8th June 2009.
Based in Oxford, and naming themselves after an Scottish island on the Outer Hebrides (the relationship they have with which i am unsure), Stornoway innovate downbeat and optimistic folk pop tunes to counter the rather desolate implications of their name - music which uplifts with classic orchestral outros and airy backing vocals. Tight folky harmonies and jarring basslines accompany rich acoustics beneath the crisp-clean soulful voice of lead vocalist Brian Briggs. His vocals express every essence of a state of care-free psychedelia which comes across in every release to date - and are typically accompanied by a rising haze of urgency which crops up all around the unsuspecting listener, helplessly drawn in by the chillout psych-folk which exults from the first few minutes of each track.
They are heading out on a UK tour early this year (details on the myspace), including dates with Fyfe Dangerfield (of Guillemots), but as of yet there appears to be little or no news of an album release date - in the meantime, i've attached two MP3s below - their debut single Zorbing and the more ambient affair On The Rocks.
Stornoway - Zorbing (MP3) (link removed by request)
Stornoway - On The Rocks (MP3) (link removed by request)
Stornoway's Second Single Unfaithful on Amazon