Smooth Big Cat takes you on a mystical journey from the first track ‘Hey You’ transporting you to a red earth desert with dancing cowgirls and smooth liquor. The lazy boy vibrato and lush textures will have you rocking in your saddle.
Smooth Big Cat is the expansive sequel to Dope Lemon’s surf-rock album Honey Bones released in 2016. This album has been long awaited since the EP release of Hounds Tooth hinted at a new music direction. Angus Stone is best known as one half of folk duo Angus and Julia Stone. Although the release of Smooth Big Cat marks a change in direction for Stones solo music it stays true to the essence of Stones melodic songwriting.
In a recent interview Stone said, “Dope Lemon is … more about storytelling. The subjects change a lot with each song. Fundamentally, Dope Lemon is about exploration. There’s a really free-flowing feel of adventure there. When I hear these songs back, or when I’m playing them live, I feel like they’re ones I can get lost in.”
We couldn’t agree more. This album feels like it picks you up at an old western train station and takes you on ride through hot sands, passing dancing skeletons, the saloon and delivering you home again, relaxed and with more minutes under your belt than before.
Combining a rich timbre and smokey vocals Stone narrates a journey of sound. The aesthetic of the track Smooth Big Cat is an explorative journey of intriguing drum samples, interesting instrumentation and whimsical desert stories.
Stone illuminates, “When I listen to it I can really hear my brushstroke, if you will. It’s 100 per cent from me, and I can feel all of that coming through the music. I think there’s something very special about that.”Down the line at Track 6 ‘Dope and smoke’ is sure to sooth with it’s upbeat, loosely placed, hypnotic textures providing the perfect background music for your next bank heist in the wicked wild west. With sensually sculpted rhythms it’s grooving in the subtlest of senses.
Two stops along on track 8 ‘The Midnight Slow’, Stone’s vocals are soft and husky reminiscent of Gang of Youths front man David Le'aupepe. The drums bounce playfully along side the offbeat strums of the acoustic guitar which chug along, driving the songs smooth pocket. Although Stone is usually a collaborative artist, a tight-knit team of two made this Album; engineer Jordan Power who recorded and mixed the Album and Stone who did everything else, including Production.
This 10 track album is perfect for unwinding on a Friday evening or setting the mood at your next shindig. Don’t expect to find yourself in the same place after listening. With layers of psychedelic guitar effects, the rhythm of a funky drum machine loop and the nostalgic notes of the xylophone Smooth Big Cat will have you nodding your head along and reaching for a top shelf whiskey.
Smooth Big Cat is available now via BMG and Spotify. You can also catch Dope Lemon at Splendour in the Grass on Saturday July 20 and Palais Theatre on Friday August 9. Head to the Secret Sounds website for tickets.