There was a time when most guitar-powered, arena-friendly rockers were not known for being consistently vulnerable and introspective. That was back in the '70s and '80s, when arena rock was full of "sex and drugs and rock & roll clichés" and people turned to Van Halen or Kiss for escapism and fantasy. In those days, many arena rockers were larger than life -- not sensitive souls who were trying to figure out the meaning of life. But times have changed, and in a post-grunge, post-Nirvana era, loud guitars and sensitive, reflective lyrics often go hand in hand. They certainly go hand in hand on Stand, the excellent debut album by Salt Lake City's Silvercrush. Influenced by Creed, Live, and Pearl Jam (among others), Silvercrush is the epitome of an ultra-introspective alternative pop/rock outfit. By early-2000s standards, this Mike Wanchic-produced CD isn't groundbreaking -- the members of Silvercrush are really followers rather than leaders. Nonetheless, Stand is consistently memorable, and those who have spent a lot of time savoring bands like Creed and Live will find a lot to admire about vulnerable, reflective offerings like "So Bad," "Alone," and "Frightened" (all of which show lead singer Steele Croswhite to be an expressive, thoughtful vocalist). One of the album's most interesting tracks is "Dance," which is about coping with worry and anxiety -- in a nutshell, the song is saying that life is a lot more enjoyable if you can have a positive outlook instead of always feeling worried. And "Dance" brilliantly uses contrasts to make its point; while the verses have a nervous, uptight quality, the chorus is happily melodic. Stand doesn't try to reinvent the post-grunge wheel, but for craftsmanship and high-quality songwriting, you cannot go wrong with this CD.
by Alex Henderson