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Stoney +
The Scene & The Unseen
Too Nice Records

The musically prolific town of Sheffield, UK has produced yet another act which is sure to impress. Mark Stoney is the main man behind Stoney+, both writing songs and tackling lead vocals with panache. Stoney+ is an evolution of Stoney's previous band, Stoneylacuna which included four other band members. Once Stoneylacuna was picked up by Island records, two of the band members decided to move on to other projects and Stoneylacuna was dropped by Island. Determined not to give up, Stoney picked up two very talented musicians by the names of Sam Jones and Thian Robinson, and they called themselves Stoney+.

I don't want to take the easy out and say that this type of music can't be classified, like so many other reviewers, but Stoney+ can't be forced into just one category. Stoney+ is another band who is following the surprisingly popular UK trend towards modernizing the Britpop styles of the 1960s. This is not to say that he is stuck in this proverbial genre rut, as he does wander the genre boundaries a bit. Stoney+ has a style outside of Britpop which can be described as a mélange of folk, blues rock and electronica with a twist of hard rock. In The Scene & The Unseen, Stoney+ has shown that they can be a multifaceted artist while appealing to the masses, which was shown when 'Constantly Running' became iTunes world-wide single of the week in January '05.

There are a few tracks of note on this album, the first being 'Jailbird'. This track begins with an industrial façade just to surprise the listener with the meat of the track being like a mixture of Beck and The Kinks. 'Jailbird' has great hooks and holds broad appeal. 'Best Laid Plans' is another notable track which portrays a beautiful dark landscape with delicate vocals and similarities to some of Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos' tunes. It is easy to understand the popularity of 'Constantly Running'. This track begins with an almost pulsating beat and a certain darkness created electronically, only to be resolved by the chorus of only slightly brighter whining guitar and crisp drums. 'Ghost' which happens to be the last track on the album is one of my favorites. This is an entirely acoustic track which has beautifully written lyrics. The song elegantly puts into words the whirlwind of emotions which comes from lost love and how people can be torn between wanting to regain that love while knowing that it would never be possible. The song ends on a happier note saying 'I Am not saying that we can or should forget/ Just don't cloud our every sunrise with regret/ The curtain hasn't fallen on us yet'. There are many other tracks which are well worth listening to on this album which I don't have time or space to describe.

Stoney+ definitely has some kinks to work out and experience to gain before I could classify them as a truly great band, but luckily they are a young band and have loads of promise and talent. There is no doubt in my mind that these guys will continue to come out with great music for many years to come, and frankly I am biting my fingernails in anticipation!

-Liger Woods

Track Listing:
1. Jailbird
2. Soap in a Bathtub
3. Bring Your Cup
4. Jake
5. Until You Leave
6. Best Laid Plans
7. Morning After
8. Underdog
9. Constantly Running
10. Holds the Stars
11. One of You
12. Now's a Good Time
13. Ghost

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