Album Review: Stonefield - Bent

12 June 2019 | 9:30 am | Tim Kroenert

"[I]t all feels a little stodgy on record."

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When Stonefield arrived on the scene over a decade ago, their status as hard-rocking teen siblings from country Victoria was a point of difference. Now it feels a little like a gimmick they haven’t quite grown out of. Their fourth album plods out of the blocks with a reverb-soaked progression of power chords; Sleep is a sign of things to come, setting the bar for an album whose metal and stoner throwbacks are supremely competent and self-assured, but lacking freshness.

Still, there is enough going on that Bent feels more substantial than its half-hour runtime might suggest. Exhibit A is If I Die, a hypnotic shoegazer whose ornate timing showcases the sophistication of their songwriting and of eldest sister Amy Findlay’s airtight drumming — not to mention some of her sister Hannah’s most evocative guitar work. Elsewhere, Route 29 is Aussie rock via Silversun Pickups, and the near-instrumental 66 is a headbanger enlivened by dexterous keyboard motifs.

Amy’s vocals are a highlight, whether she’s crooning a la Shirley Manson over the driving Dead Alive or letting loose an apocalyptic yowl on Dog Eat Dog. But the younger Findlays are no mere support crew - just listen to keyboardist Sarah channelling her inner Ray Manzarek on the proggy People.

Admittedly it all feels a little stodgy on record, but the prospect of hearing these songs played live is tantalising.