Winter, Summer Suburban Exile, Stewart’s second album, is a collection of songs that prelude the idea of an album as a whole organism. The evolution of Stewart’s songwriting progresses throughout the album as she arrives, at its conclusion, to her strongest authentic voice as a storyteller. Winter, Summer Suburban Exile is a journey exploring freedom versus restraint, raw and unapologetic in its coverage of such complex terrain. With an emphasis on vocal clarity, the music is allowed to serve as a fertile background for the narrative. The album spans from anthemic songs, with St Marys’ Bells and Henson Park Skies, through darker times with No Sunrise, No Sunset and Diving Bell, to the lightly romantic Money Never Spent on Romance and Only One of You.
Recorded at Leisure Suit Studios, near Mangrove Mountain, NSW, with long-term collaborators, Grant Shanahan, Matt Galvin and Michael Carpenter who jammed together, laying down tracks in a couple of takes, with an emphasis on understatement ensuring nothing was sonically overworked. Creative direction was driven by Stewart, herself, with engineering and co-production support from Shanahan. The result is an album that is lyrically strong and instinctive in its melody, and at moments — such as the rise in St Marys’ Bells – humbling.
“…it catches your heart from her opening chords and holds you close as it lifts and rolls you through an extraordinary vocal journey. It’s an angel’s voice that belies the grit and rawness of her lyrics.” Fran Kelly, Presenter, ABC Radio National Breakfast
“…she is a force of nature… spellbinding with a voice that is bruised, enchanting and often at odds with the subject matter of her songs. “Lonely Sydney Skyline”, “St Mary’s Bells”, “Henson Park Skies” and “Caravans Are Killers Aren’t They (She Said)” rank with the best.” Larry Writer, Freelance Journalist