Album Review: Standby – Gone for a While
Gone for a While is the latest record released by self-proclaimed Progressive Alternative Rock band Standby. First thing’s first: Progressive Alternative Rock is rather ambiguous, and leaves a lot to the imagination, merely by the lack of real substance behind the terms themselves. Sure, Progressive Rock tends to sound a couple of ways, be it New Prog, like Coheed and Cambria; Classic, like Yes; or Metal, like Dream Theater, while Alternative Rock brings to mind music like that of the Foo Fighters or Incubus. Gone for a While sounds like none of these- instead, it likes to stand in the strange space between New Prog and Hipster/Indie Rock; They’re too Progressive for Indie Rock but not quite enough to be New Prog, which leads to Standby creating its own unique, and more interesting, variety of Rock comprised of an Indie Rock sound and composition, to be sure, but with far more thought and Progressive elements than is to be expected.
By utilising progressive elements not commonly seen in their genre, Standby is able to provide for us something new and innovative that stands out amongst the music of their peers in the Indie Rock community. Perhaps what this record does best is the incorporation of progressive elements like the metre play in “Watch Your Step”, or atypical metre like the 9/4 found in “Sweep”: the average listener will not point these things out, but will also not be turned off by them, which is where Gone for a While finds real success- the music is very accessible, and achieves a level of easy-listening without being boring, or too derivative.
Fans of Art Rock will be pleased to know that the opening track, “Waiting for a Train” is not music, but is instead an artsy introduction that sets the precedent for what is to come- as the ambient noise gives way to “Circles” it becomes clear that Gone for a While has set the bar higher than your typical Pop record. This concept is carried throughout as songs fade into one another and blend, a small Progressive element that is often overlooked- something should be said for it.
Finally, Gone for a While overcomes the esoteric nature that often comes with the niche with which it aligns itself by employing a pop-oriented mix that highlights the catchy vocal tracks above all else, and by avoiding becoming too progressive or abstract with rhythmic complexity that could potentially scare off more casual listeners; the record, while clearly being more Progressive-oriented than most in its genre, is just Pop enough to be heard.
Standby has delivered, in Gone for a While, an enjoyable, polished, and easily accessible unique Indie Rock experience that teeters between being Pop and being Prog, without threatening to swing too far in either direction.