Spotlight

 

Formed in 2010 and named after a posthumous Small Faces album, the members of the Autumn Stones are currently, Ciaran Megahey (voice, guitar) who writes the songs, Michael Newton (bass), Matthew McLaughlin (drums) and Gary Butler (horns, guitar). Having released their debut album Companions of the Flame in the May of 2011, the band have now added two singles in 2014, both recorded/mixed at Echo Valley by Dean Marino (Papermaps) and mastered at Lacquer Channel by Noah Mintz, End of Faith in April and In With the Out Crowd’ in July and are writing songs for a forthcoming album, tentatively named ‘Escapists’.  

The venue for the release party for the latest single ‘In With the Out Crowd’ was Rancho Relaxo and the following gig review was written from that night.

The set opened with ‘Sky Flower’ from the first album and featured some beautiful picked guitar work from the start, with a really laid back sixties feel, building as the song developed. ‘Endless War’, the second track featured Gary on sax, both for the intro and lead instrument, which in turn tracked Cairan’s lead vocals, which was another positive feature. At this point, both the most recent singles were played, End of Faith’ first, followed by ‘In With the Out Crowd’.  The former has a real Talking Heads opening, but with a strong Clarinet riff, which is followed by an almost David Bowie vocal. I was concerned that it may not have come across ‘live’, but needn’t have worried as the driving beat from Michael and Matthew, was a perfect platform for the brooding vocals and sax, while the timing of the false ending only shows how confident the band were in  delivering, what is an excellent song. By contrast, ‘In With the Out Crowd’, the new single, featured a coped jazz style guitar riff, which bounced along and featured some excellent sax work from Gary, whose movement on a very small stage was appreciated by the audience and added to the overall upbeat tempo of the song.    

The halfway point of the set saw the title track from the first album, ‘Companions of the Flame’, which again opens with some tremendous picked guitar work harking back to the sixties. A new song ‘Creatures’ was highlighted by some really good soft drumming from Matthew, great vocals from Ciaran and Gary’s sax tracking the vocals, which reinforced the overall delivery of the song. ’Under My Spell’, the opening track from the ‘Companions’ album was next up and the combination of the infectious chorus and sax was beautifully executed. The set closed with two new numbers, ‘Ooh La La’, which opened with a wailing sax introduction and ‘Time is a River’ that contained elements of The Smiths sound throughout.

Overall, a very good performance from a band who deserve a larger audience than the one in Rancho Relaxo that night. That said, if Autumn Stones can continue to produce singles of the quality of those released this year, find gigs more frequently, relax a little and start to enjoy themselves a little more, then they won’t have to find an audience, it will find them.

 SynBrit Ratings 4/5 

The Autumn Stones

The Autumn Stones

The Autumn Stones

The Autumn Stones

The Autumn Stones

The Autumn Stones


All photos reproduced by kind permission of Back2basicsphotography.com