Second chances in the music industry are funny things. Sometimes these comebacks are carefully orchestrated and years in the making, and sometimes super-producer Rick Rubin calls out of the blue and tells you he wants to cut a record.
The latter happened to Angus and Julia Stone, an Australian sibling act that split up in 2011 so that the Stones could get some time away from each other and pursue solo projects. Thanks to Rubin’s interest, they’re back with a new self-titled album and a North American tour that stops in Seattle on Sunday at The Showbox at the Market.
“It was a big surprise for us both being contacted by Rick and also just the idea of working with each other again,” Julia Stone said. “It took us a while, getting to know Rick and I guess reacquainting ourselves with the idea of working together and how we had changed in our time apart.”
The Stones, who scored a hit with “Big Jet Plane” in 2010, hardly spoke for about two years as they both released solo records and went on tour. Julia said that time apart was vital and even allowed the siblings to begin writing songs together, something they had never done before.
Rubin, who has produced for stars ranging from Jay-Z to Aerosmith, wasn’t aware that the Stones weren’t even in contact with each other when he reached out to them. Despite that, Rubin helped mold “Angus & Julia Stone” into a smart collection of tunes featuring his trademark stripped-down sound.
“We really needed that independence from each other,” Stone said of her time away from Angus. “There was so much touring together and doing press together, the songs were very much our own thing. I think the reason it worked is that we didn’t need to hold on so tightly to, ‘This is my song and this is the way it sounds.’ ”
There are plenty of moments where one sibling takes the lead, like on Julia’s mercenary love song “Death Defying Acts” or the tender “Get Home,” sung by Angus with an appropriately haunted voice. Still, the album is at its best when Angus and Julia are allowed to interact, like on the tense “Heart Beats Slow.” It’s a reflection of the changes both siblings have gone through in the past few years.
“Angus has been with me through all my 20s and so many different experiences traveling the world making music, it’s been such a slow realization that he really means the world to me,” Stone said. “There’s no longer any power struggle or any typical brother-sister stuff. It’s just a genuine joy to share in the experience with him.”
8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12, at The Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., Seattle; $18, $20 DOS (206-628-3151 or showboxpresents.com).
Owen R. Smith, on Twitter @inanedetails