David Eugene Edwards was most familiar to me as the frontman with 16 Horsepower, and although I knew he was involved in a solo project, it came as something of a surprise to learn that this is his fifth Wovenhand album.
Since the early incarnation, where it was Edwards with a drummer, Wovenhand’s sound has filled out. Amidst the lineup on Ten Stones, 16 Horsepower’s Pascal Humbert’s electric and double bass playing is one of the constants, whilst guest appearances include Elin Smith of Danielson.
Edwards lyrics have been set to a wide range of textures across time, from dark acoustics to full on rock. Here, I would describe the tone through much of the album as anthemic, exemplified by the opener The Beautiful Axe. The pounding Kicking Bird reminds me of Phil Lynnot and Thin Lizzy’s Celt-legend rockers, but that’s in sharp contrast to the song next to it: a cover of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars/Corcovado, with a lounge lizard Jim Morrison crooning lead. This will surely be a surprise to D.E.E’s fans, although I can’t imagine it being universally well received!
The closer is an instrumental of broad, sweeping drones and another interesting colour to add to a largely compelling release. 7/10 -- John Cavanagh (12 February, 2009)