The Stone Angels are a three piece rock band from Devon who formed in 2009, the current line-up being in place since 2017. The band have been gigging pretty intensively around their local Torbay pub circuit and have gained some loyal fans in the process. Following the release of their debut album ‘Spirit, Love and Higher Meanings’ in 2016, they are now set to follow it up with a self-titled five track EP, released on 24th August 2018. We caught up with band members Dan Hughes (lead vocals/lead guitar), Sam McIver (drums/percussion/synths) and Nathan Hughes (bass/backing vocals) to find out a bit about them and the new EP before we had a listen.
Although this line-up has only been in place since last year, it seems the guys were already acquainted and naturally gravitated towards each other. “With Torbay being such a small area we all
knew each other from our musical ventures, so it was only a matter of time before we all ended up working together”, they said. When it comes to songwriting, the guys tend to write pretty much all
the time, “We are constantly writing every week…during sound checks, and on the road”. They all play an array of musical instruments so songwriting is very much a creative and collaborative process,
“rather than locking yourself in to one instruments mind set”.
As far as influences go, they each have various rock influences that they listened to whilst growing up, but they now listen to a wide variety of genres, from rock to funk, trance, hip-hop, acid jazz, blues, classic and “anything that intrigues our ears!”, with Sam listing Muse, Radiohead and Royal Blood as his go to bands to listen to, Dan preferring The Killers, Imagine Dragons and John Mayer and Nathan opting for the Primus Willy Wonka re-imagining ‘Primus and the Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble’ and “other weird stuff the other guys don’t get!”.
Whilst the band’s live set consists mainly of songs from their debut album, they have “teased a few tracks from the EP in…and it’s vastly different from our previous release. There is also an
interesting rendition of an ‘80s classic.” I think it’s about time we had a listen…
First track ‘To the Light’ has an insanely catchy hook and staccato bass lines that will get inside your head and refuse to come out, and there’s some serious riffage going on that gets my head
banging to the beat. I adore how the drums and bass power this track along, with the vocals layered over the top. “I keep on running, I keep on running, to the light”, it’s such a sing-a-long chorus,
with added high pitched ‘woah-oah-oah’s’ that just scream for your attention.
From the opening riff of ‘Animal’, it has me hooked. It’s a different kettle of fish from its predecessor as it has a slightly different pace, and it’s got that kinda sleazy grinding rhythm, which fits perfectly with the sexy lyrics, “I’ll take you down like an animal, jump all over your body ’til the night falls”. This song is full of headbanging riffs and it just makes you want to move!
‘Fear’ starts off with a gentler vocal before being joined by a driving drum beat that carries the song along. This track has a cool change of tempo at the bridge and the use of synths adds interest, but this song was the slow burner of the EP for me. The inclusion of ‘Don’t You Want Me’ is definitely thought-provoking. I like rock covers of other genres, and judging by crowd reactions when Stone Broken play their version of a Backstreet Boys classic, so do many other diehard rock fans! This version of the Human League hit is really very good, it’s pretty much a straight cover, but full of banging riffs, pounding drum fills, booming bass lines and the vocals sound fantastic. I’m betting it’s much better live, although it’s sounding pretty damn good through my speakers on LOUD AS FUCK!
‘Set Me Free’ surprises me when it starts and I have to check that I’m still listening to the same EP. The beginning sounds like a completely different band at first, but then when the other
instruments kick in to join the vocals/synth/bass, it becomes more recognisable. What ensues is a fantastic crossover of genres that I can’t even describe, I just know I like it. This song has a
groovy back beat that will have your feet tapping along. You can clearly hear the influence of the wide range of music that the guys in the band listen to and how it shapes their songwriting.
There are a few tracks on the EP that grabbed me right away and a couple that were more of a slow burn that crept into my head when I was least expecting it. It’s obvious that these guys have talent in droves and a burning ambition. After listening to this EP, I’ll definitely be checking out their album ‘Spirit, Love and Higher Meanings’ and watching them play live.
The Stone Angels are heading out on tour during the first two weeks of September to promote the EP (dates below), playing at ShebFest Festival in Devon, and then at various towns and cities over the UK, culminating in a home town date in Torquay on 15th September. The band also have a string of dates in their local Torbay from August to December this year, details on their FaceBook page (link below). The guys are already thinking ahead and plan to head out on tour two or three times during 2019, so keep an eye on their social media pages for those details. As they’ve been playing their local pub circuit for a while, we asked the guys if they had any words of advice for new bands just starting out? “Don’t do it, leave the gigs for us! In all seriousness, don’t give up, there will be a few bad ones, some extremely good ones and you will be asked to play Green Day A LOT”. These guys are very focussed and even spend their spare time “mostly trying to come up with new musical ideas and plans for what we can do in the future”. They have big aspirations of playing huge stages and festivals such as Glastonbury, Download, Woodstock, Wembley, Rock in Rio, 02 Arena, Lollapolooza, Coachella and every venue possible. They may dream big but they also have their feet firmly on the ground and a keen sense of humour. Keep those dreams of playing Glastonbury and Download firmly in your sights guys!
Dan Hughes - lead vocals/lead guitar
Sam McIver - drums/percussion/synths
Nathan Hughes - bass/backing vocals
‘The Stone Angels’ EP track listing:-
To The Light
Don’t You Want Me
Set Me Free
Buy the EP here:-
See The Stone Angels live here:-
1st September - ShebFest - Shebbear, Devon (Scouting For Girls headline)
8th September - Bristol, Stag & Hounds
9th September - Wolverhampton, The Giffard Arms
10th September - Nottingham, The Maze
11th September - Manchester, Peer Hat
12th September - Sheffield, West Street Live*
14th September - London, The Unicorn*
15th September - Torquay, Apple & Parrot*
*free entry shows
Tickets for other shows here:- www.thestoneangels.bandcamp.com/merch
Find out more here:-