This Liverpool, England-based indie rock band was formed in 2001 by songwriter Howie Payne (vocals/guitar). Payne had originally performed as a solo act before teaming up with his younger brother Sean Payne (drums), Robbie Stevenson (guitar) and Martin Campbell (bass) to form the Stands. The quartet played their first gig at Liverpool’s Bandwagon club in December 2001, and after successfully winning over the local crowd began casting around for further live work. The line-up gradually evolved during the following year, and with Payne the focal point he was eventually joined by a stable band featuring Luke Thomson (guitar), Dean Ravera (bass), and Steve Pilgrim (drums).
The Stands had completed most of the sessions for their debut album by the time they signed a recording contract with Echo Records, with several tracks recorded at Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher’s Buckinghamshire studio. Taking overt inspiration from the folk rock style of the Byrds and Bob Dylan, All Years Leaving split critical opinion when it was released in early 2004. ‘When This River Rolls Over You’ (originally released as a single the previous August) was eerily reminiscent of Dylan’s ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’, while ‘The Way She Does’ strayed rather too far into Beatles territory for comfort. However, there was no denying the charm and melodic verve of Payne’s magpie songwriting.
The quartet’s second album was recorded in Los Angeles at the Sunset Sound studios. Released in summer 2005, Horse Fabulous gained good reviews but its chances were scuppered when the Echo label ran into financial trouble. The Stands called it a day following a tour to promote the album.