Standing Shadows: Five Years of Darkness

standingshadowsfiveyearsofdarknessStanding Shadows: Five Years of Darkness
Los Angeles alternative rock band Standing Shadows are all about their debut album, Five Years of Darkness. The album launched digitally March 9th and the CD will be released May 19th. The band uses the regular combination of instruments, guitars and drums, but include some electronics in the form of keys. In a way, they play off the successful integration of rock bands with more of a techno feel such as The Killers, or Silversun Pickups. But Standing Shadows don’t use it as heavily.
Every once in a while, the album packs a song that does bring that poppy electronica to the forefront. Take “Existence”, where they do a bit of a poor man’s Muse to combine their live play with digital sounds. It does catch the ear, but only slightly. Something seems missing in the end. The harmonies aren’t as clear nor as good as some more accomplished acts.
“Be Free” focuses more on the guitars and piano, but still doesn’t do anything to impress. At times I couldn’t help but think that this was some kind of imitation of the Sting hit “Every Breath You Take”. Yet, it is not as good. It also becomes very repetitive with the chorus focusing on “I want you to be free”.
The highlight of the album is “One Way Ride”. Standing Shadows hit on something that Garbage was well aware of back in the late 90’s. If you’re going to use equipment that generates a dance hall electro sound, you may as well make the song a dance track. The underlying beat here gives the song a groove that makes you move. Even the singing sounds more like a successful pop track. It was quite delightful. Throw into that a bit of that funk guitar that comes in once in a while, and Standing Shadows have probably their best song.
In the end, though, the band doesn’t display anything that will make them stand out. They sound average and could easily get lost with bigger names that get loads of radio play. I’m not sure if they’ve found their sound, or were even trying to. It feels a bit forced and doesn’t seem as natural. Perhaps a shift from rock to more of a pop sound, ala Kara’s Flowers transitioning to Maroon 5, would really bring the best of Standing Shadows out. Have a listen to “One Way Ride”. If the rest of the album sounded more like this, I’d be inclined to recommend it. As is, I’m just not feeling the energy.
Rating: 3.9/10
MP3: Standing Shadows “One Way Ride”
Buy: iTunes

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