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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BLOODY FABULOUS, 6 July 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Horse Fabulous (Audio CD)
The Stands first album All Years Leaving hinted at how could they could be. The album sounded like it was made in the 60's, not a problem for purist however...Horse Fabulous is a massive sonic step forward. Howie Payne is certainly one of the most gifted UK songwriters we have. The album is crammed full of lilting melodies, great vocal harmonies and the best songs and production of Payne's career
Bloody Fabulous
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Underrated band!, 23 Oct 2005
This review is from: Horse Fabulous (Audio CD)
I can't understand why this band aren't up there with the likes of Coldplay, Franz Ferdinand or the Kaiser Chiefs. They've now produced two excellent albums, although I would say if I had to choose I'd just have to take the first one, 'All Years Leaving' over this.
If you like sixties influenced, countryish rock with a hint of psychedelia then you couldn't do better than buy either, or both, of The Stands albums, which have some excellent and even beautiful tunes.
I can only conclude that they aren't more successful because they are somewhat derivative, reminding me of the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Beatles themselves. Indeed one of the tracks on here is a blatant rip off of the Fabs 'She's a Woman - but then that's no bad thing. If you're going to be influenced by anyone choose the best!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Discovered this band through Poundland, 1 April 2013
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This review is from: Horse Fabulous (Audio CD)
After purchasing there first album at Poundland, encouraged to seek out any follow ups, there is only one & in my opinion it's brilliant. Very unusual, & talented muscians, this album should have gone a lot higher in the charts except for lack of promotion.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Take the Stands, 10 Mar 2013
By 
BJB (Cardiff, Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Horse Fabulous (Audio CD)
There's only one thing wrong with The Stands - they haven't made any more albums since this. Or if they have, I can't find them - and it's not for want of trying. Like the Mavericks, The Stands make music that feels like you've known it all your life, and yet still feels fresh. It's quite a combination, and this is one of those rare albums that I could literally listen to at any time in any place, and it would adapt to my mood. Melodic, catchy, gentle and yet uplifting - this album is filled with songs that sound like Bob Dylan would if he had a better voice and a sense of humour. I fear The Stands have probably gone their separate ways, and if that's the case, then it's very sad to think of such a talented band never having received the plaudits they deserve. Such is life, but don't live the rest of yours without Horse Fabulous.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Horse Fabulous certainly is!, 7 Nov 2011
By 
G. J. Miles "Geoff" (Cumnock, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Horse Fabulous (Audio CD)
Great bargain - hard to get hold of? Very underrated band. I particularly like tracks 3, 4 and 5. Also bought the more recent album - 'All Years Leaving' (2004).
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4.0 out of 5 stars get ready for Bright Light Ballads, 16 Jun 2010
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This review is from: Horse Fabulous (Audio CD)
a very fine album - must lead on to to buy Bright Light Ballads by Howard Elliott Payne, that is a full 5star plus buy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Roots and inspiration ... ahh thats one thing, 7 Oct 2009
By 
Freidun Taravosh (Sweden) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Horse Fabulous (Audio CD)
The Stands are according to yours truly one of the best groups present on the current scene(*). Hey now I've been a fan of their music ever since I heard them, so perhaps I can also conclude that they are one of the best groups I have ever heard, true to inspirational folksy psychedelic roots of artist such as The Byrds Neil Young and, (oh yes you have heard that phrase before) and utterly charmed by Merseybeat tingled niftey swing of such artist as The Searchers and those guys The Beatles... are the Stands a grand nostalgia trip?

It's easy for fancy critics to write them off as such
but I won't stop at just stranding them as a Beatleseque band because of their liverpoolianism or classic guitar combo resemblance whatsoever
roots and inspiration ... ahh thats one thing, but since day one the stands arrived they have been looked upon with with grey shades as merely carriers of such, Please look beyond whether Oasis cheer them on or not.. Here are the stands, and they STAND very well on their their own with a very solid sound that might shine through swingin 60's but also goes beyond...
Since their debut All Years Leaving The Stands have come down strong with a well build rounded sound, well crafted, well structured, and well fulfilled. On the go, and, yet still very wholesome, their finely strumming sound has been looked upon by many as Rather sterile and stiff by some, since they do not sport , the funky energetic approach of contemporaries, as Supergrass for instance nor are they looked upon as trend setting of any sort, such as Oasis are generally awarded for.

Furthermore. Let's not drivel in a prologue of artist presentation, let's go on spot
What is "Horse Fabulous" , it's the one year later follow up to the solidly twangly strumming solidly crafted, and well rounded sound of the debut, aforementioned above.
I was enourmously struck by the sound of the debut, not that every song was as instantly catchy as the other, but it holds a solid formula of ever lingering complete structure, because of it's very round packed arrangements, a term also fitting for a debut of more distant years the Byrds' Mr. Tambourine Man' of 1965. 'All Years Leaving 'had a complete sound about it
Now what can a follow up contribute?
I mean, to me The Stands already stood for a marvellous sound with the debuts rounds twangles and turns for its grand compact quality, the compact sound fooled some that this band where not going anywhere sadly although the sound was so great...
Well what have they brought with them, more well worked compact jangle of course, I mean why not? (those byrdesque comparisons are not taken out of thin air after all).
But moreover it's also bold and broad and chunky and energetic *jaws dropping* it's quite a surprise for The Stands, but it's equally as good.
So it just goes to show now, that if anyone had a hard time getting in to their strictly compact formula as brilliant as it was, the debut was the band literally taking a stand in the music business.
This follow up one year later goes some adventurous steps beyond
Even from the opening track that starts of acousticly strumming it burst outs into full swing complimented by perfectly suiting orchestra and choir backing
And while the burst out energetic electric guitars, that was only prominent as a promising strength rush near the end of their previous record, it is evident already and the second track following Soon come a attitude rolling and turning rocker, showing of the bands newer more confident spreading into a more confident rock punch right from start
It's guitar rhythm has some prominent echoes of the mid 60's hit She's A Woman out of the Help Sessions (the last by the beatles in a long time where they went for a less complicated, all out swinging formula). but such comparison is to little to describe the essence of the track, since to consider it as merely a nostalgia boost would be to little, and the compact delivery of the tune, still stands of the stands and nobody else (and furthermore holds a sharpness that the beatles had not touched since the hamburg days, but with even more freshness, so a true rock fan can't complain).
Afterwards follows more of a cool down track, bopping boogie enourmously well executed swinger Just enough Love that also borrows some saxophone in the arrangement, combined with a solid beat and engaging backing makes it a perfect moment of swinging atmosphere regardless of the at first seemingly lightweight vocals, it's a perfect feel good tune, with a perfect atmosphere,
Following this nice atmosphere is _I Will Journey Home_
a more slightly twangly swirly relaxed C & W folksy effort comes next, where every ingredient of the arrangement works in perfect symbiosis form the tight harmonies to the light guitar twangle to the rolling beat, it puts forth a settled mood, without being overly advanced, a calm atmosphere slightly reminiscent of something by Crosby, Stills & Nash, while note seen as the ultimate highlight of the bunch it is still a very rewarding track not to be missed, the complete touch of this song was certainly nothing done in haste, but it's still so good that it doesn't need to be any more fulfilling or longer than it already is, it sort of just flows by, but it's just really good.
A easy flowing track following the atmosphere of the aforementioned two is the very nice taking a walk tune Back to you
Which settles for the jewel that is the cool and calm Mountains Blue And The World Through My Window that sort of centers the record, and is one when they really take a ambitious step out of the regular stands formula, a wide spanning instrumental or true folk and classical touches, being very grand and very settled and the same time. The carefully strumming guitars and banjos, togheter with the lifting beat and the sweeping orchestra certainly never get too much, although people might believe it will, it's a perfectly settled track of beauty and composing creativity, while at the same time having a very comforting sound that lingers through out the tune, it doesn't go of into obscurity and the very laid back carefully handled approach interludes perfect for the sprawling chunky energy stretch that follows. Nearer than green is the albums total power test, and it certainly delivers a whole lot, the upbeat chunky groove combined with the midsections swirly free floating carachter that jumps straight into a fuzz toned solo that slightly echoes Eight miles Highs dawn of Psychedelica, but with a totally surrounding compact sound again signed off freshness solidity of The Stands music ambition, to be more than followers of former greats, in a way it also it's two characteristics reminds of two of their earlier songs, a fulfilling of earlier philosophically dreamy outings showed earlier in smaller frames through Shine on and The Big Parade and the rocking Strength of the two of the final numbers of the first album some weekend night and here is where their boldness and high ambition shines through in the best way shows of, they finally have the guts to go out broad, and still keep intact.. which is why Nearer than Green is such a marvel of success and is so ultimately capturing through out it lengthy arrangement, they have brought it all together here. Which is why, the light Mersey swing jazzy Seachers joy fest when the night falls in does not come as a disappointment, its surely lighter, but in context of the previous Ultimate power test so well executed we can all owe ourselves something lighter,
The very direct but well preformed piano boogie tingled tune followes a more light mood as well, but of course is as solidly performed and well planned as it is put on this long player, and is also in its own right as capturing as anything else on this record, returing is the swaying horn section putting all the pieces together, before dusting of into the marvellously confident rocker Do it like you like the arrangement not grand or anything but it's exactly where it's at, it goes round and round and on and on , and it's just hooking the way it is, as for the ticket to ride resemblance, well mabey, but Macca and the boys did not come out as solid as this bunch, it's so fresh!
And after a rolling drum and a tight unison edgy but calmly Byrds inspired and the same time, and fine sombre orchestrated beauty rounds this ambitious masterwork off

You said is sums in up the solidness of the albums broad width, and its just very very fine
The harmonise strike better than ever, as they flow freely in the air, heck its an artful romantic atmosphere
All in all a perfect record, if this does not prove the stands broad brilliance then what will
This is not an album to overlook, and no one should ever talk cheap about this band again
Keep on swaying!
To me there is not a bad track on the set
Ahh that perfect atmosphere

"I Will Journey Home My Love Sleeps Somewhere Alone"

footnote 1*(note to reader, the comment on 'the current scene, was done when this album was first released)
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars we love the stands in MEXICO, 12 Jan 2006
This review is from: Horse Fabulous (Audio CD)
Hi i just want to say that this album is fucking great i´m from mexico, and here are only one radio station that play this kind of music, the first time i heard it i fell in love whit this band, but unfourtnately i still don´t have the c.d i got the songs via internet so i will love if anyone who´s reading this could send me the lyrics of WHEN THE NIGHT FALLS IN to mistercarlitos@yahoo.com i really preciate that... cheers and sorry if my english it´s not good
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Horse Fabulous
Horse Fabulous by The Stands (Audio CD - 2005)
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