Album Review: Stonefield - Bad Reality

12 June 2012 | 4:40 pm | Brendan Telford

Youth, dexterity, looks, raw energy and ability – the Findlay sisters have it all.

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Youth, dexterity, looks, raw energy and ability – the Findlay sisters have it all. Their unabashed love of '70s-era rock at the epic end of the scale has meant that their band Stonefield has caused a tsunami-level wave the world over, with everyone eager to get onboard and see how well these girls travel. On Bad Reality it is clear that these girls are exceedingly talented, exceptionally tight… and rather two-dimensional.

The cover art – an aqua miasma of psychedelic etchings – sets everything in stone. Opening up with the title track, Bad Reality is unabashed about what it's attempting to do – the obligatory vintage keyboards, epic blues riffs and incredibly powerful vocals by drummer Amy are all present and accounted for. Ruby Skies continues the trend, even adding cowbell to the mix. Who Are You and Black Water Rising offer more of the same though, and by the time Yes Master hits it's hard to discern one track from the next. There are no ear-bending solos or psychedelic flourishes; everything is kept tight, single-ready and radio-friendly. It's true that these girls are incredibly talented, with an astonishing ear for melody and a commendable taste in music (and Amy Findlay's vocals are fucking amazing). But the production by Lindsay Gravina (The Living End, Magic Dirt) is too high-end and glossy, buffing some of the quartet's personality from the recordings.

Bad Reality proves that it may take some further maturation for them to reach their zenith – which ought to be an awe-inspiring experience. Let's hope they manage to get there sooner rather than later, all the while avoiding a spiral into derivative squalor like those other “revisionist” Aussies Wolfmother, hmmm?