(21 October 2007) The second album by Florida's Blue Stone is entitled Worlds Apart (Neurodisc (USA) NRO 32080, 2007). Especially for female vocals enthusiasts, it is a natural and equally large step forward from the group's debut album Breathe (Neurodisc (USA) NRO 32064) which was as much pure instrumental- as vocally-laced. The group's new album is an accessible yet wonderfully complex 16-track collection of lush electronic soundscapes. Our editors have been enthralled with it for months.
Blue Stone is comprised of Bill Walters and Robert Smith. Worlds Apart features three stunning vocalists: Sheyenne Rivers, Maura Hurley and Samantha Sandlin. The three women contribute individually to the tracks but oftentimes add layers of their own harmonies to the tunes. The album plays as if a soundtrack with vocals varying between whispers, vocalise and lyrics sung both in English and other languages. The group have an affinity to French and have used lyrics in that language since their inception in spoken and whispered words.
The album will immediately draw attention from new age and electronic music fans with each track served as an appetizer although female vocalist enthusiasts will likely devour and appreciate the album more with repeated and indepth listens. The album is a treasure in every respect. A gorgeous 16-panel booklet with artwork by Brian Son (Sleepthief, Neurodisc Beauty and forthcoming Sirčnes compilations) accompanies the package. While crisp keyboard and percussion are found within Blue Stone's music, electronic programming forms the centerpiece of the instrumental arrangements accompanying the vocal work.
Worlds Apart is a tremendously well conceived and delivered creation. While the whole album can easily be called a masterpiece, several of the tracks certainly stand out from the rest after many repeated listens. These include the rhythmic pulsing and dramatic "Waters Flow," and the evocative title track "Worlds Apart," both sensually sung by Sheyenne Rivers with percussion that underscores the vocal lead and lush instrumental accompaniment. Careful listeners will be reminded of Beverley Staunton of Balligomingo in both cases.
A testament to the instrumental prowess of the group is the track "Lost Son" which lies between the especially memorable "Waters Flow" and "Dreamcatcher." "Event Horizon" is a delicate track with lush vocals ranging from whispers to multilayered harmonies and a memorable chorus sensually delivered by Sheyanne Rivers. None of these tracks overshadow the equally accessible and downright sexy pop chorus that weaves between the worldly vocalise textures of "Remember This," sweetly delivered by Maura Hurley who also contributes a vast range of worldly vocalise and lyrical vocals to the spacious tune "Labyrinth of Dreams."
With tracks that have a defined start and finish, Worlds Apart really plays best listening end-to-end in order to absorb the full effect of this electronically arranged female vocals soundtrack. The perfectly mastered instrumentals blend with individual and layered female vocal
energy to create powerfully sensual sonic and visual imagery. This is one of the finest albums of the year. Blue Stone have set themselves worlds apart with this release.