Stand-Up Guy - _Immobiliare_
(Distortion Project, 2002)
by: Pedro Azevedo (7.5 out of 10)
Glancing at the band's biography moments before playing this EP for the first time, I had no idea what to expect: I had superficial knowledge at best of the bands it said Stand-Up Guy had been compared to (Neurosis being the closest to an exception), and barely knew any of the bands they were said to have toured with. Plus, Stand-Up Guy is hardly a common kind of band name. Looking at the band's website, they describe their attitude as being all about the music and nothing else; the quote "Thank you for your time, I know you could be doing other things rather than reading this" illustrates how down-to-earth this Northern Irish band seems to be. So what about the music then? Initially it reminded me vaguely of Burnt by the Sun, but there really is a lot more to it that comes from very different realms. After the aggressive manner in which the EP begins, things move into a more pensive, melancholic mood following a brief spoken passage; the agonizing screamed vocals laid atop the pounding drums and the vaguely melodic chords continue to create a strong atmosphere, and the music definitely seizes the attention. As the opening track ends with a doomy section and some double-bass drumming, it becomes clear that the songwriting is far from your everyday chorus-based structure. The track ends and segues into a tense movie sample, mixed with a string background that creates an excellent build-up into the song itself. The mood stays dark throughout this instrumental track, a lot of anger that was clearly visible during the first song now more subdued -- this second track, titled "Dead Eyes", serves as an epilogue to the EP opener "Fra Diavalo!". Thoroughly impressed so far, I was a bit let down by the lightweight, clean vocal based approach that opened the third and last track "Right Angles, Wrong Angles". The simplistic main guitar riff did very little to help, but the other instrumental passages still bode well for the rest of the song, which indeed raises in intensity after the three minute mark with the return of the screamed vocals. The clean vocals themselves aren't bad, and they return later in the track with somewhat better results before a doomy section concludes the EP. Hints of present day Katatonia come to mind in some of the guitar work, but it really is hard to compare Stand-Up Guy to other bands. For such a short EP I won't risk a higher rating than this, but what I can say is that I am well impressed and will be looking forward to a full-length.


(article published 28/4/2003)

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