steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Stand-Ins

"Clean Slate" CD

Medium Build

Genres: indie rock, rock, hard rock

Nov 15 - 21 2004

As the story goes, The Stand-Ins are a trio of former rhythm-section members looking to let their own creative genius out.  It shows.  These twelve short rock songs (which go by in less than forty minutes) are heavy on rhythm but a bit low on hooks.  "Sharp Stick" and "Blame This Town"  show where the band's interests lie - hard rock - which means that their fanbase is pretty much set.  If you're looking for pop music, look elsewhere; this is no-frills rock, occasionally catchy but always riveting and punchy.

Predictably, Clean Slate's best songs are its most melodic ones.  "Flip My Lid" is a delightful romp with a delicious Americana tinge, and "Can Be Wrong" is charged and rousing, with a Afghan Whigs sound.  However, some of the less infectious numbers ("Sharp Stick," "On My Diamond") don't stand up well over multiple listens; if Clean Slate could be pared down a bit, it would make for a very solid EP.  Catchy tunes like "Tabula Rasa" and "Rant " make for real hits, so the potential is certainly there.  Still, even with a few less memorable numbers, I find myself quite happy with this record.  The Stand-Ins have a unique blend of spirited, American hard rock - somewhat reminiscent of the mid-90s scene - and it makes for quite a treat.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 12 tracks, distributed by the band, released 2004]