Falling, Faster is the second EP to come from melodic rock trio Stand Alone, coming two years after their debut Nothing is Forgotten. Based in West Yorkshire, the band consists of Gavin Stevenson (guitars & lead vocals), Luke Harrison (bass & vocals) and Tom Durrans (drums & vocals): three like minded musicians peddling in the kind of powerful melodic rock that should bring fans of Alter Bridge and Stone Broken running.
Opening track Save You has the kind of bouncy, party-rock riff that could easily blend into any Nickelback album you care to mention (it owes a lot to Something in Your Mouth). It’s the kind of riff you feel like you’ve heard a thousand times before, but it is still instantly engaging, and you can see it being a great start to a live set. Throw in a hook laden chorus and you’ve got yourself an enjoyable and accessible rock track. Damning with faint praise I know, but when you listen to the remaining three songs you wonder whether Save You was even written by the same band…
Let me expand on my last statement. All four tracks of this EP are easily recognisable as being performed by the same musicians, but whereas Save You can be passed off as forgettable radio rock, the following three tracks show a much more refined, mature and interesting approach to song-writing. Never Stand Alone follows the same basic formula of a punchy riff and engaging chorus, but the alternating drum patterns, multitude of guitar techniques and emotional vocal delivery makes it a far better song. The chorus is the best on the album, featuring an effective use of vocal harmonies to create an almost call-and-response routine between the left and right speakers. It sounds like something you should really be joining in with and allows the melody to really shine. The positive and uplifting lyrical theme is continued in Repose En Paix: what begins as a condemnation of the those responsible for the Paris attacks of 2015 flows into a tribute to those who lost their lives, and an appeal for everyone to continue living their lives to the full and not to be cowed by such attacks. The guitars are tuned down for this one, creating a darker and heavier sound for an already dark topic. The strings used just prior to the guitar solo sound a little out of place due their sudden appearance and equally sudden termination, but otherwise it’s a solid track that hints at a dark side to this band.
Saving the most ambitious track until last, 616 sees Stand Alone flexing their musical muscles a little more, showing off their ability to blend different time signatures, styles and tones within a single track. The jumping between distorted riffs, complicated lead guitar melodies and cleaner chordal passages is part Dream Theater and part jazz, and the whole thing is closed out with a gentle piano behind multiple acapella-style vocal lines. The guitar solo is drawn out a little longer than it needs to be, but the instrumental middle section is some of the best music on the EP and many progressive rock bands would have been proud to write it.
If you already like bands such as Nickelback, Alter Bridge, Stone Broken etc then odds are you’ll be happily singing along to Falling, Faster in no time at all. The majority of the EP is a strong musical statement for a band that are at least part-way to establishing their own identity in the very crowded melodic-rock world.
Highlights: Never Stand Alone and 616
Falling, Faster is released on 30th November 2018 and can be purchased here.