South Australian band Sturt Avenue are set to release their debut album ‘How Do You Think It Should Be?’ next Friday, 4 June. Having already released 4 of the tracks as singles, the complete album has been long-anticipated. Based in Adelaide, the folk music collective is led by SCALA award-winning singer/songwriter Bryn Soden and supported by a cast of family and friends, a project built upon a strong foundation of community. The band even takes its name from the street the family grew up on in the Adelaide Hills.
About the new album Bryn says: “The album title is in essence the question I was asking each of the band members as we brought these songs together. While the lyrics and chord progressions were written by me, when it came to the process of turning them into actual real-life songs, my goal was to give everybody the space to do what they do best. I wanted this record to feel like a band record rather than a singer-songwriter one.”
The eleven-track collection is a poignant musical account of a transition into adulthood, complete with themes of awkward love, sorrow, joy, nostalgia and deeply moving happiness. From the carefree, country sounds and gentle acoustics bringing life to the drunken memories of Cannery Row, to low-key tales of trauma and heartache as told in the darker, more reflective rock of Bell Curve Blues and Falling, each track has a story of life to tell. Over Everything is serenely anthemic, offering a soothing chorus of positivity, whilst sweet harmonies and soft strumming feature in the wry, explanatory A Few Simple Lines. Waiting provides an instrumental wave which ebbs and flows in expectation of ‘waiting for something’, through to the aching nostalgia and imagery of the violin-gilded Lions and Flowers on the Sill. Sirens is positive and upbeat, with a driving pace that shows perfect cohesion of drums, keys and strings. Nowhere Town is a sadly tender ode to isolation and loss. Beautifully optimistic closer Stay is a love song dedicated to making a home in someone’s heart.
With infusions of indie-folk, Americana, country, rock and blues, the album is a true, extended-family production – Bryn takes on lead vocals, acoustic guitar and harmonica whilst Bryn’s father John plays lead guitar and slide guitar, as well as doing backing vocals with Brynn’s sister Tarn. Close friends Isaac Kerr, Bryce Lehmann, Dave Thompson and Ollie Patterson feature on bass, drums, keys and violin.
There is a warmth that resonates through ‘How Do You Think It Should Be? and it gives testament to the kinship and community spirit that defines Sturt Avenue. There is also a magic in the fact that, as musicians, the group are largely self-taught. Some of the song writing for the album actually dates back to 2015, then in 2019 the band began recording drums at Holy Roller Studios in Prospect, South Australia. The rest of the material was overdubbed in Bryn’s home studio and mixed alongside Patrick Lockwood from Electric Ant Studios.
Sturt Avenue will be playing two Adelaide shows in June (see here for more info) and a follow-up album is already in the works for future release.
1. Cannery Row
2. Bell Curve Blues
3. Over Everything
4. A Few Simple Lines
8. Nowhere Town
9. Flowers on the Sill
‘How Do You Think It Should Be’ by Sturt Avenue is out next week, on 4th June.