One of the more successful Australian bands of the mid-1990s, Things of Stone and Wood formed in 1990 in Melbourne. Playing their own brand of folky pop, the band had six Australian Top 50 singles by 1995.
Comprising of Greg Arnold (vocals and guitar), Michael Allen (bass), Tony Floyd (drums) and Justin Brady (violin, harmonica and guitar), Things of Stone and Wood released their first album, The Yearning, in 1993. The album was greeted enthusiastically by the public and critics alike, in no small part due to Arnold's strong songwriting. "Happy Birthday Helen," taken from this album, became the first of the band's Australian hits.
On The Yearning, Things of Stone and Wood had shown a strong social conscience in their lyrics; in particular, they condemned the apparent rise of racism in Australia. This idea continued in their second album, Junk Theatre, when it was released in 1994, again to widespread praise. The first single taken from Junk Theatre ("Wildflowers) explored the theme of racism, and became one of the most played songs on Australian radio in 1994. Two other singles -- "Wild Man Shouting" and "Churchill's Black Dog" -- were also lifted from Junk Theatre. This album, though similar in style to The Yearning, saw the band striving for a harder, more rock sound.
The band's third album (The Man with the Perfect Hair) was recorded in mid-1995. The album was an acoustic set recorded in a single take using one microphone. Originally, the album was not going to be released commercially, but interest in the record was sufficient to allow a commercial release. However, The Man with the Perfect Hair was a patchy effort and failed to achieve the success of their previous recordings.
Soon after this, Brady left the band and Things of Stone and Wood recorded Whirligig as a three-piece. This album did not receive the same attention as previous releases, and it failed to generate any significant singles. In late 1996, a live EP titled Live at the Espy was released. ~ Jonathan Lewis