Review: Jack Foley
IT'S appropriate that The Stands' new album should contain the
word fabulous in the title given that's the best way of describing
the record as a whole.
For having impressed greatly with their brilliant debut, All
Years Leaving, the Liverpool four-piece return with an even
more ambitious collection of Sixties-influenced pop-rock songs,
in the form of Horse Fabulous.
Produced by Tom Rothrock (Beck, Elliott Smith, Foo Fighters)
in the legendary Sunset Sound Studios in LA, the album is a diverse
collection of melody-laden classics that capably demonstrate the
band's love for music in all its forms.
No two tracks sound the same and draw on numerous influences,
while retaining a sound that is distinct and effortlessly catchy.
And while some tracks are touched by melancholy, the album as
a whole is a very warm listen, dripping in sunshine melodies and
a breezy style that provides a perfect potential soundtrack to
Highlights include the lovelorn When The Night Falls In,
a track that functions as much as an ode to lost love as it does
a reflection on the many sleepless nights that lead singer, Howie
Payne, has taken up writing songs.
While the dazzling Mountains Blue And The World Through My
Window is a spine-tingling masterpiece, complete with mandolin
solo, that effortlessly demonstrates the band's willingness to
mix things up a bit and experiment instrumentally.
Set against a backdrop of strings, the mandolin sounds completely
beautiful, providing an enticing blend of sadness and hope all
at the same time.
It is quickly followed by the breezy Nearer Than Green,
which contains a guitar hook reminiscent of Blur's Coffee
and TV with an extra sprinkling of Beatles-style vocals.
I Will Journey Home is another priceless gem, a haunting
love song that contains a nod to the Simon and Garfunkel era.
While the infectious album opener, Turn The World Around,
is a prime example of how the band like to take classic melody
structures and turn them into fresh sounding pop records that
really ought to set your toes tapping.
Likewise, Soon Come, a genuine hip-shaker that owes
a lot to the shuffling style of The Bees and tracks like Chicken
If you heard the recent single, Do It Like You Like,
you should know what to expect - a retro-sounding, Sixties-influenced
good time that delivers 11 tracks of the highest quality.
Like I said earlier, it's fabulous.
Related stories: Horse
Fabulous feature (the story behind the album)
All Years Leaving review