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Seminal post-hardcore outfit, Quicksand, returned earlier this month with ‘Interiors‘, their first album in 22 years.
Now, the comeback album is a very weird thing. More often than not, such records fall spectacularly short of the expectations built by years of insane amounts of media and fan hype. Sometimes, these releases do indeed hold their own amongst the rest of the respective band’s catalogue and fan expectations. Even rarer do such comeback releases show up and better all of the group’s previous material. However, twinkle-emo-legends American Football proved last year that you cannot simply rely on nostalgic value from your previous much-lauded work to ensure your comeback record is good, which was my main concern when first going into this new Quicksand album. The band’s only two other albums – 1993’s ‘Slip‘ and 1995’s ‘Manic Compression‘ – were so inherent of their respective time periods that a band simply relying on what few die-hard fans they may still have to eat up the references and tributes to these two older albums would never come close to producing an album relevant in 2017.
Thankfully, ‘Interiors‘ is both very much a Quicksand album – a great one at that – but is also a fitting departure from their ’90s sounds and a love letter to it; pushing them forward into the 21st century whilst also embracing what made them a good band to begin with.
The record does, in fact, open up in a very similar fashion to their debut LP ‘Slip‘, but with a natural yet very distinctive sheen that is nowhere to be heard on their earlier material. This change is obviously in line with the drastic leaps in recording technology over the last 20 years, but it doesn’t feel like simply a necessity – think again of how the aforementioned second American Football LP sounded more like an Owen record, lacking all of the endearing lo-fi quality of the original in the process – as much as it is a distinct artistic choice. Which all shines through so well on this deep record’s instrumental performances too.
The bass guitar work here from Sergio Vega (who also lays down the bass in Deftones), has so much focus across this record with it’s driving, writhing riffs and motifs. It’s razor sharp when it needs to be or at other times is warm and fuzzy – something not really found on the band’s previous works. There is a rich dynamic depth to Alan Cage’s drumming that is an absolute joy to dig into with some high-quality speakers or headphones – both in production and his actual playing. The lush guitar interplay between Tom Capone and Walter Schreifels’ is chameleonic in the best way possible. Furthermore, Schreifels’ rich vocals sit deep in the mix such that he be the focus of the track if you want him to be, but his voice can easily blend in as simply another instrument among other solid parts in this glorious machine. This all cumulates in a stellar album that manages to effortlessly travel between being dark, heavy, haunting, gritty, groovy, beautiful, nasty, reserved and wonderfully noisy without ever once feeling contrived, lacking or jarring. And it is seriously refreshing to hear such a combination in 2017, even more so from a band like Quicksand!
If you’re already a fan of Quicksand then you’ll most likely enjoy ‘Interiors‘, no doubt. But anyone expecting a verbatim exploration of the “glory days” will be somewhat disappointed I feel. As this full-length doesn’t exist as a comeback album for the pure sake of simply being a comeback album; there is more to be said by this much-loved band than what they left us with before the turn of the century arrived, and evidently, it couldn’t remain to be unsaid any longer.
‘Interiors’ stands up tall and proud with Quicksand’s previous work, but it never tries to mindlessly replicate what came before it. Yes, there are similarities in sound – I mean, this is the same band we’re talking about – but there is more to be had than re-treads and highlights reels. Instead of releasing a glorified “greatest hits” with all new material, Quicksand have delivered one of the most surprisingly awesome records of 2017 – a real, genuine comeback record. I mean, seriously, when was the last time you or I was this pumped about post-hardcore?
2. Under The Screw
3. Warm And Low
4. > (Interlude 1)
8. Fire This Time
9. Feels Like A Weight Has Been Lifted
10. >> (Interlude 2)
11. Sick Mind
12. Normal Love
‘Interiors’ is out now via Epitaph Records. Tickets for the band’s 2018 Aussie tour with Thursday are on sale now. Stream the record below: