With its mix of vocal harmony, acoustic guitars, and brushed percussion, Angus & Julia Stone's debut recalls the lush, cuddle-up-in-bed indie folk of the Weepies and KaiserCartel. A Book Like This takes strength from its two young songwriters, both of whom approach love and coming-of-age issues from their own gendered perspective. Julia Stone plays the part of the quirky ingénue, her vocals fluttering like a young Joanna Newsom over homespun melodies and gauzy instrumental backdrops. "I blame you, Hollywood," she softly chastises, "for showing me things you never should show a young girl." Strings and glockenspiels chime in the background, swirling around the refrain before giving way to "Just a Boy," where brother Angus details an awkward encounter with the fairer sex. He matches his sister's soft, unadorned croon throughout the album, whether he's helming G-rated material like "Bella" (sample lyric: "There goes the gal in the pretty skirt with the golden smile") or planning a visit to a friend's house for the sole purpose of getting stoned ("Jewels and Gold"). Drug references notwithstanding, the bulk of this debut revels in its own adolescence, focusing on fairy tale folk songs and pastoral imagery. For those who have a taste for such fanciful material, A Book Like This is an appropriate soundtrack for lazy Sunday afternoons and slow Monday mornings, when the pace of the world matches the relaxed gait of this band.
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AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey