Formed in 2010 and based in York, England, Stolen Earth was put together by the former members of some bands that hit the prog/rock scene in the UK for the last 10 years. Lead singer Heidi Widdop (ex-Mostly Autumn), Paul Teasdale, Barry Cassels and Adam Dawson (ex-Breathing Space) and John Sykes (ex-The Goosehorns) create a modern rock sound in an atmospheric rock style. Just before I started to write this review I checked the bands website to see to my surprise that bass player Paul Teasdale left the band to concentrate on new projects. It was Paul who did send me the bands debut album entitled “A far Cry from Home”.
Heidi Widdop – vocals, acoustic guitar, low whistle; Paul Teasdale – bass guitar, vocals, acoustic guitar, additional orchestration, piano; Barry Cassels – drums, percussion; Adam Dawson – electric guitars, slide, vocals, 6&12-string acoustic guitars, piano; John Sykes – synths, Hammond, piano, vocoder
On “A Far Cry from Home” you can find the following nine tracks; “Unnatural Disaster”, “Soul in a Jar”, “My Lips Are Too Dry”, “Mirror Mirror”, “Tuscany Sun”, “Into the Virgin Snow”, “Bitterness Fades”, “Silver Skies” and “Perfect Wave”. The album opener is called “Unnatural Disaster” and it is an up-tempo song that reminds me of early Mostly Autumn. Halfway the song there is a slow section with mysterious keyboard sounds and delicate sung vocals before the band returns to the up-tempo refrains accompanied by a screaming electric guitar solo. “Soul in a Jar” is a ballad with delicate vocals, acoustic guitars, piano and a beautiful low whistle tune. In the second part of the song you can hear a beautiful melodic electric guitar solo. “My Lips Are Too Dry” is also a song which reminds of the work of Mostly Autumn and Breathing Space. The band is trying to find their own identity in the field of atmospheric rock. “Mirror Mirror” is sung by Adam Dawson and Heidi Widdop. This slow song has very beautiful vocal lines and a nice Floydian electric guitar solo. “Into the Virgin Snow” is also a slow song with delicate Hammond and melodic electric guitar parts. Slowly the tension of the music is building up but the overall feeling is that of a ballad. The ending section on piano is very nice. It is a beautiful transition into the next song “Tuscany Sun” that in my opinion is one of the strongest compositions of this album. The orchestration by Paul Teasdale is very nice and the song has a delicate and beautiful vocal line. After these beautiful slow songs “Bitterness Fades” is more up-tempo and the name of the band Fleetwood Mac came to my mind. The slow song “Silver Skies” is composed by Adam Dawson and Adam and Heidi are singing it together. The combination of both voices is working very well. Also you can enjoy melodic electric guitar parts played by Adam Dawson. The last track of the album is also the longest (9:39) and is called “Perfect Wave”. The guitar work of Adam Dawson sounding again Floydian. After a slow opening the song gets more tempo and power. The music is slowly building up towards a climax on electric guitar.
The debut album “A Far Cry from Home” of Stolen Earth is a good album full of atmospheric rock in the vein of bands like Mostly Autumn, Breathing Space and maybe Karnataka. The problem is to find their own place in the scene and to develop an own identity. We will have to wait and see how the music of the band will develop. First the band must find a replacement for Paul Teasdale. Fans of early Mostly Autumn and Breathing Space will probably like this album.