Release DetailsLABEL Distortion Project Records
RELEASED ON 11/29/2004
In Fixation, Conspire
Just like the nebulous subgenres usually referred to as Neurosis-core, doom-core, post-metal, or a mixture of the three (Capricorns, Cardinale, Cult of Luna, Deadbird, Isis, Knut, Minsk, Mouth of the Architect, Neurosis, Rosetta, among others), I can’t get my fill of instrumental post-rock either (Kenoma, Ostinato, Pelican, The Photographic, Red Sparowes, Russian Circles, Tides, Una Corda, et al). Stand-Up Guy – a band that formed in 2000 and hail from Northern Ireland – easily fit into the former category, yet aren’t nearly as streamlined as most of their cousins. While not entirely all over the board, In Fixation, Conspire doesn’t subscribe to one specific sound. Instead, it offers several, and perhaps that’s the main reason why this debut fails to catapult Stand-Up Guy to the first-tier.
Still, this full-length deserves an audience, and anyone who regularly climbs branches of the Neurosis tree will find something to like here. However, each of the nine songs conjures a different feeling and mood. Opener “Fra Diavalo” dives right into the river that Neurosis have swum across before, though rather than employing passive background vocals – which is common M.O. for this subgenre – these are upfront and aggressive, frequently garbled although sometimes clean. “Burning Paper in Bleeding Hand” could pass for a slower, laidback version of a tune by the now-defunct, former Abacus signing Narcissus, while “Briefcase Opening” will inspire reminiscing about Isis, and “Swandive” will briefly remind a few that yes, Deftones are still around and some people actually listen to them. Surprisingly, hardcore sensibilities appear intermittently too, especially when the clean vocals take on a standoffish quality. Also of note is the fact that fellow Ireland native Paul McCarroll, who is a member of the experimental, post-grind band Scald, designed the cover art – that’s his hand.
At a total of 50 minutes, In Fixation, Conspire lives up to its price tag, providing one understands that Stand-Up Guy are a second-rate outfit. Yeah, there are other bands and albums that are more satisfying, with more replay value, but if you’re like this reviewer, you’ve exhausted those discs already and are always hunting for more. As they say in Japan, gotta catch ‘em all.