I first got turned on to the lush, American 70's west coast influenced sounds of Welsh band The Storys when I happened to review their stellar 2008 album Town Beyond The Trees for another website just after the disc was re-released by Angel Air records last year. So when I got a hold of their latest album entitled Luck, also released by the good folks over at Angel Air, I have to admit I was really looking forward to hearing how they would approach things this time around because Town Beyond The Trees was an absolutely flawless record replete with gorgeous vocal harmonies and rich, multi-layered textures from beginning to end.
Before I even had a chance to listen to a note of music I quickly scanned the accompanying press release which mentioned that after the release of Luck the band will unfortunately be going on hiatus which may end up being permanent. So just as the warm, soaring vocal harmonies of Steve Balsamo, Rob Thompson and Rosalie Deighton on "Everybody Want's You To Make It" began to caress my ears I have to admit to feeling a touch of sadness thinking that I was potentially listening to the band's swan song. I don't have any keen insight as to why the band has decided to fold up shop at this point in their career, but if you look at it from a purely musical standpoint, it seems a bit of an ill conceived idea when you consider the strength of the material here.
Each and every one of these six, supremely talented musicians has a hand in the songwriting process somewhat so there's not only a cohesive feeling running through this record, but you also get the feeling that the unique qualities of each individual member is equally represented as well. One of the significant strengths of The Storys has always been their flair for crafting hook laden songs that feature a plethora of sweeping vocal harmonies to fully complement the distinct vocal talents of lead singer Steve Balsamo. While Balsamo may be the lead vocalist most of these up tempo tracks also feature noteworthy vocal contributions from Thompson (guitars), relative newcomer Deighton (guitars), who takes a lead vocal on the splendid "Please Come Home", and bassist Andy Collins. If you want to hear examples of first class songwriting check out the songs "Burning Sun", "California", the earthy Eagles influenced "Before I Fall" which features some deft slide playing from Thompson, and the bitter sweet final number "All Inside" where when Balsamo achingly sings that "it's not the destination you say but it's the ride" you realize he could be referring to the long journey his band has been on since 2003.
While I didn't personally find Luck to be quite as affecting overall as Town Beyond The Trees it is nevertheless a first-rate album from top to bottom. Like I mentioned at the top of this review it's hard to believe that a band with this much talent to burn has decided to call it quits. Here's hoping the various members use the time apart to perhaps get some things out of their systems with regards to solo projects etc… and that they will reconvene somewhere down the line. It would be a shame if this was the end of the road, but if it is at least they can say they went out with a bang.
1) Everybody Wants You To Make It
2) Daylight Calls Again
3) Burning Sun
5) Please Come Home
6) She'll Never Do That
7) Take All The Time That You Need
8) Long Way Up
9) Paper Plane
10) Before I Fall
11) All Inside