Hear The Track HereI first met Neil Archer and Tim Smith (aka Stan) when I reviewed Revelation [Summer 67] (December 2007), I liked the track and certainly noticed that these chaps know what they are about. Revelation wasn't, to my ears anyway, what I would have assumed to be their best work, to which they replied that I should listen to their CD to get a better idea of what the duo could do. The eleven tracks that make up Lostforwords certainly paint a much broader picture and show that the time, effort and money they invest in what they do pays off - with a couple of provisos. As much as I wanted to, I couldn't ignore that small tang of 'home produced' that permeates this CD, but I suspect most people wouldn't notice so whaddo I know..
Stan aim squarely at the intelligent end of pop and, for the most part succeed. I do have reservations about their style and the way it is laid down; they are songwriters deep down and the music has a thinness that is disconcerting - at least for this reviewer. Lostforwords is the title track and starts off the CD and is a very accurate representation of the rest of the CD and it is in this very first track that I noticed the lack of life in the vocal mix - although it works in the rap (provided by Blake Eerie). Like a lot of Stan's tracks, it has a cleverness about it that may win it listeners and considering it's a little over four and a half minutes long it covers an awful lot of ground.
Now that I do like.
I've compared them to 10cc and I see no reason, now that I've lived with the CD a while, to change that opinion. There is a strong singer/songwriter feel about all the material that makes up the CD and I suspect that Stan may well become an acquired taste in their field. There have a lot of collabs happening to including the glorious Maria Daines on The Lounge Lizard which sounds exactly as you would expect - not a track to savour in the dark. For my money, this is THE standout track on the CD but that is because I am well biased where it comes to Maria; although it took me a while to get acclimatised to the delivery and tone. Not something I expected, and that's a fact. It is that lyrical and arrangement smarts that finally get me to the real meat of this CD though, and that I find I can highly recommend, even though I find the CD itself a bit patchy; almost a song portfolio. As I said before, being as truthful as I can be, I think the game could be upped several notches yet before this really catches fire, and one of the first areas to concentrate on is depth of sound. It's nice when people send you CDs but it does put the onus on the reviewer to be particularly scrupulous about any negative comments, but then again I can't ignore what my own ears tell me either. As always, these are personal views and you guys may well hear it differently.
Whatever, I do advise checking Stan out for some superior pop.. (and the Maria Daines track is a Must Listen)