Stornoway is a British indie folk band formed in 2006 in the Cowley area of Oxford, UK. Having self-released three CD EPs, the band signed to 4AD in March 2010, releasing their debut single for the label just weeks later. Their home-recorded debut long player, Beachcomber’s Windowsill followed shortly after in May, building on the already substantial fanbase the band had acquired through breathless word of mouth revery.

Indeed, their organic ascent reflects the feverish devotion that Stornoway seem to inspire. Prior to their signing with 4AD, the band had acquired a devout following in their hometown by playing self-promoted shows that grew from barely attended performances in small Oxford venues to selling out the 800 capacity Sheldonian Theatre, all the time remaining basically unknown outside of the city. Unsurprisingly given the grassroots relationship with their fans, the band’s popularity wasn’t to remain parochial for long. In the last 12 months alone they have acquired the support of Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, played Radio 1’s Big Weekend, wooed the crowds at Glastonbury, found themselves shortlisted for the BBC’s Sound of 2010 poll, played a sold-out UK tour, and appeared on Later… With Jools Holland.

Fanbase and industry support attained in equal measure, the next stage was for the band to release their album. Already recorded prior to the band becoming involved with 4AD, Stornoway were keen to retain the homegrown quality that eased through the 8-track recordings they’d amassed over the last year. Thankfully, 4AD shared the opinion that the majority of the songs should be left unaltered, tied as they were to the recording locales of college bedrooms, garages and community centres. Beachcomber’s Windowsill very much spoke of a band isolated from the demands of the music industry, relying on instinct and ambition alone. Grandiose as the album is, Beachcomber’s Windowsill is charged with an intimacy and emotional directness that speaks of both the origins of its genesis and Stornoway’s pure and heartfelt approach to music as a whole. All of the fussiness, all of the years and the bells and the bedrooms, have been worthwhile.