VARIOUS ARTISTS – Stone Island Records Sampler (Stone Island)

Stone Island Records are a new company based in Braintree, Essex, who appear to plough the same furrow as old faves Stone Premonitions. As an introduction to their output they have issued a promotional sampler showcasing some of the bands they represent, and anyone who was into the output of Stone Premonitions will find much to enjoy. There are offerings from The Rabbit’s Hat, Census Of Hallucinations, and Clear Blue Sky (as reviewed in the last column), and also tunes from new names like Elektrum and Oceanfield. Starting at the beginning we have Dayshift, and a riffing hard rock effort which bodes well for the rest of the disc. Elektrum present us with ‘Popocatepetl’ - a rousing seven and a half minute live guitar instrumental with some great 70’s style soloing – and Census Of Hallucinations’ ‘Spiral Arms’ is another one of their effortlessly spaced-out grooves. ‘The Wounded Citadel’ by Oceanfield is like a torch ballad with a prog backing, and works really well, while Clear Blue Sky deliver a blistering version of The Rabbit’s Hat’s ‘The Moon’ – which is, dare I say it, possibly better than anything on their recent album. The Rabbit’s Hat themselves pop up next and they never fail to deliver, donating the excellent ‘Riding The War’. Dayshift return with ‘The Happy Elephant’, which is not as rifftastic as ‘Queen Of Whispers’ but is still pretty good, and Elektrum treat us to another dextrous instrumental, more bluesy this time and with some more fine soloing. Lee Limerick is the surprise of the disc, with the stunning ‘Nightmare’ – a well structured and sung song, with Mike Scott-like vocals and a blistering guitar solo to finish. If there is anyone that I will investigate further from hearing this sampler it is Lee Limerick and his ‘Outside Out’ album. The disc ends with an epic thirteen minute track by Oceanfield, this time the quieter but no less powerful ‘Speaking Angels’, and there you have it. A nice varied selection from the catalogue of Stone Island, giving a good idea of the sort of music that they deal in, and if you ever heard and enjoyed anything from the Stone Premonitions stable then check out the rock, psyche and folk sections on their website at