Excellent instrumental 3-piece out of Christchurch in the mogwai vein. Comprised of Danny Bare (also of The Shocking Pinks) on guitar, Andrew Robins (also of Luge) on drums, and Gareth Heta on bass, they formed in 2002 and quickly built a very strong set of songs built around robins’ excellent drum-work and hekas slinky, powerful bass-playing. Bare’s an excellent guitarist – totally in control of his tone and resonance, which he lets loose live, creating huge walls of sound from his assortment of foot-pedals.

In late 2002 they released a couple of brilliant EPs, all packaged in very classy hand-made sleeves and in very limited numbers – before re-recording most of the material (with the help of Rob Mayes and his label Failsafe Recordings) as part of their debut full-length. Simply put, Global Research Systems is a stunner. One of the most dynamic, concise and free-flowing textural albums around, Substandard show grace and maturity in their truely catchy songs. And they are songs too – avoiding Godspeed! Your Black Emporer’s unfortunate (yet highly skillful) habit of recreating a rising crescendo over and over again, Substandard’s songs are loose, and at times funky – with definite start and ends. Quality live act too, faithfully recreating their recorded tracks in front of live audiences. With Heka taking a bit of time off from the band in late 2003 (getting married), Bare formed the side project Electric Slipper, whilst Andrew spent more time in Luge.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Substandard [2002 Failsafe]
  • ..Low Electric City Pulses Ep [2002 Failsafe]
  • Global Research System [2003 Failsafe]