Stonefield: Far From Earth
Stonefield: Far From Earth - Album Review
The four Findlay siblings of Stonefield land the UFO to deliver their third album, Far From Earth.
This is a new and improved Stonefield. On Far From Earth, the songs are more long-winding than recent albums, exemplified by the adventurous album opener ‘Delusion’. But somehow, the sister collective’s third album remains tighter and more polished than previous efforts. Although Far From Earth is more open to carefree instrumental play, it all feels very much part of the plan. The album is a cohesive body of work.
The added polish may be the impact of producer Stephen McBean. McBean’s presence isn’t reserved to the album’s refinement either, as he helms the seminal stoner-rock group Black Mountain. On Far From Earth, there’s a huge stoner-rock influence, particularly on the explosive ‘Through The Storm’.
The influence makes for a fuller, more in-your-face sound. The drum patterns are barnstorming and penetrative and the guitar riffs are scuzzier, while remaining catchy. Far From Earth is Stonefield’s most accomplished record.
Given the recent psych revival in Australia – thanks to groups like Tame Impala and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – it’s surprising to hear Stonefield switching to a more prog-rock style on Far From Earth.
With the considerable growth in the psych-adoring community, Stonefield could’ve captured the attention of the audience if they ventured the opposite path to a more pop-oriented, fun-filled record. Instead, the band have travelled a dark and murky route to create their third project.
Don’t get me wrong, the album is dope. But tracks like the effortlessly melodic ‘Visions’ reveal the band’s quality when they produce those memorable, bright-riff jams. Stonefield may have missed a trick.
After winning triple j Unearthed in 2010, Stonefield have released a pair of albums without much of an impact – a surprise considering the early support. The quartet needed to make a change to stay relevant. And that’s exactly what they’ve done.
On Far From Earth, Stonefield have almost hit restart. The band signed to King Gizzard’s label, Flightless Records, and worked with producer McBean for the record. The result is a renovation of the group’s dynamic, from sunny psychedelia to sludgy stoner-rock and probing prog. There’s less of their characteristic bright riffs and more murkiness, paired flawlessly with the mysterious cosmic undercurrent of Far From Earth.
‘Delusion’, ‘Far From Earth’ and ‘Visions’
Words: Tennyson Tinning