Produced by Annie Clark (St. Vincent) and Thomas Bartlett (Doveman), Julia Stone’s third solo album – which was recorded sporadically between 2015 and 2019 – sounds footloose and fancy-free, like spontaneous skinny-dipping with a hot stranger you’ve long admired from afar.
“So I left and started dancing under the street light and you saw me, and I saw that you saw me…” – on lead single Break (which Clark describes as “You Can Call Me Al through the looking glass” – nailed it!), Stone’s conversational vocal delivery rests atop fluttering keys and jubilant brass stabs.
In addition to production, Clark also contributed vocals and guitar throughout Sixty Summers, and her guitar freak-out during Free is a particular highlight. When Matt Berninger (The National) materialises to take We All Have’s final bridge (“Love is all we needed to be here for…”), the tenderness of his deep, melancholy croon will make you swoon.
Stone’s sultry speak-singing – which features prominently on Dance, Free and Who – evokes Lana Del Rey, and Fire In Me’s swashbuckling beat calls to mind early Kasabian. Stone’s gentle vibrato during the understated I Am No One is Jolene-level heartbreaking.
Then the record wraps with Dance (French version), Stone purring the song’s verses in ‘the language of love’.
Sixty Summers sees Stone shedding her folk leanings and making a beeline for the d-floor. ‘Stone in Pop Princess mode?’ I hear you questioning, perhaps with furrowed brow. Oh, hell, yes! We’re here for her luminescent, poptastic glow-up as well you should be!
Sixty Summers by Julia Stone is out April 30 via EMI.
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