Here's what Mike O'Cull had to say.
Review by Mike O’Cull, independent music journalist. www.mikeocull.com
Stormcellar is an innovative roots music band from Australia that has spent the last 11 years blending many different roots genres with multimedia and human performance. The band has toured the world and performed with blues legends, Mongolian throat singers, American poets, and a vast assortment of other characters. The level of songwriting and play are always high and anyone who has heard the group knows that a new Stormcellar release is always worth a listen.
Stormcellar fans are in luck, currently, because the band’s new release is really two distinct records that both overlap and stand alone. Safe Harbour and Rogue State are the titles and each one shows a different facet of this talented outfit. Rogue State is a wonderfully-recorded band record full of outstanding singer/songwriter roots rock music the likes of which few bands can replicate. Many of the tracks carry a vibe somewhere between the Stones and Counting Crows. The standout cut is “Pirouette,” which also appears on Safe Harbour, but no bad songs live here. Check out “Goin’ Downtown,” “Down & Dirty,” and “Soul Thing” to see for yourself.
Safe Harbour is a more acoustic and art-focused record with a concept. The guitar elements on these songs were recorded outdoors at various locations and the environmental sounds of each made part of the recordings. Video was captured along with audio and you can watch the actual takes heard on the record being laid down. The version of “Pirouette” here, recorded on the Dobroyd Sailing Club Pier in Rodd Point, is stunningly emotional done with acoustic guitar, violin, and a vocal. The outdoor sounds bring an unexpected tranquility to the moment, so use your headphones to not miss anything. An instrumental version that’s included is just as beautiful. “Sail Away” is another great song given the same treatment. Vocal, instrumental, and electronically remixed versions are included and each has its charms.
Stormcellar radiates the confidence of an established band comfortably pushing its creativity in public. All of this music is deserving of your time and fans of lyrical songwriting may find this to be their new favorite band. Play these albums for anyone needing a reason to still believe in perfectly-executed guitar-and-vocal music.