Angus & Julia Stone’s genteel folk warms the El Rey


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The music of Angus & Julia Stone is all about undulations – of melody, of tone, of the tenor of the heart.

On Tuesday night at the El Rey Theatre, the brother-sister team from Australia took a reverent crowd for a ride on those slopes, never quite thrilling but never spilling either, achieving the slow-motion beauty of a really fantastic date night. Which it was, judging from the way the patrons were coupled.

They held hands and sang along to the warm material from the Aussies’ sophomore album “Down the Way,” a No. 1 record in the duo’s homeland and one that put them on the map in Los Angeles, where they played three sold-out shows last spring at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery and earned some return business from fans who brought gifts to the El Rey.

The Stones’ is meticulously crafted folk, spare and honest, and Tuesday it was imparted largely with the help of a three-piece backing band. They are very good at soft, especially Angus, the less outgoing of the siblings. Countering that on Tuesday was a guest appearance by Irish folkie Damien Rice on “You’re the One That I Want,” the John Farrar song from “Grease” made famous by Olivia Newton-John.

But despite the succulent pleasure of undeniable songs such as “Santa Monica Dream” (which led off the concert) and “Yellow Brick Road” – and Julia’s girl-next-door sense of humor – the show got a bit overly genteel as it passed the hour mark. Two new songs at the end injected some needed adrenaline into the proceedings. One, introduced as “Where Does the Love Go?,” is “about waking up one morning and not wanting to touch the person you’re with.” Tart … and a little more of that would make the sweet that much sweeter.