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January 27, 2005

{     The Stands - All Years Leaving     }    

The Stands have been receiving some much deserved hype on their native British soil for a while now, and we Yanks have just very recently been blessed with a domestic release of All Years Leaving, the band's debut album. It arrives stateside at a rather critical time in our collective music history, with the fate of the neo-folk movement somewhat up in the air. You see, this folk-rock thing has continued to grow exponentially over the past few years, reaching a kind of critical mass as of late. What ends up distinguishing this album from it's contemporaries is not so much how "different" it strives to be, but rather how directly it draws upon the traditional folk and rock influences of years gone by. Eschewing indie flourish and modern trappings, The Stands take a very rootsy Dylan-esque approach to what they do. It's the kind of thing that might have seamlessly slid in between early Stones, late Beatles and Dylan in his prime. And while All Years Leaving operates within the scope of those influences, it still manages to come off sounding diverse, and is especially refreshing given it's context in the contemporary folk-rock scene, glutted with pretention as it is. I don't want to relegate this album to mere throwback status either- it is catchy as hell and contains some truly brilliant moments. The poppy "Here She Comes Again" has tremendous crossover appeal, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see it showing up on Top 40 radio, and it deserves to be that huge. "Outside Your Door" calls to mind the Violent Femmes, and carries a lot of the same simple yet rabid energy of some of the Femmes' early material. Conversely, "The Way She Does" offers up an incredibly layered showcase of jammy bluesy psychedelica, a sort of Hendrix-meets-The Doors kinda thing (in a good way). I can't explain exactly why this works for me, but it does.

     » The Stands official US website

By Adam in Music

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