For Fans Of
Let’s be honest, most bands that have reunited after a lengthy hiatus and tried to reignite the flame with new music have been terrible. )I am looking straight at you, At The Drive In). Whether it be trying to follow up an album that has reached supreme cult status during years of inactivity, trying to recapture the energy of youth long passed or the battle with fan expectations causing a bit of a musical identity crisis, it just feels like the majority of comeback records blow hard.
This cannot be said for Quicksand’s 2017 return album ‘Interiors‘ because that album fucking rules. It felt like a natural progression for the band stylistically and rather than trying to recapture the energy of yesteryear, it was a mature, finely aged record for people who’ve loved the band for decades.
Now here we are in 2021 with another brand spanking new Quicksand album in the form of Distant Populations, which sees the band somehow magically blend signature elements from all their previous releases into one stunning body of work.
The big and dirgy ‘Inversion’ kicks the album into gear much in the same way ‘Fazer’ opened the seminal 1993 album’ Slip.’ A big drum fill into a big-ass riff, followed by the king himself Walter Schreifels belting out with his instantly recognisable voice. Anyone who felt that ‘Interiors‘ was missing the bite of classic Quicksand is going to feel right at home with this album, or at least most of it.
‘Lightning Field’ and ‘Brushed’ feel a little like reworked Rival Schools songs (which is totally fine as Rival Schools fucking rule). ‘Colossus’, ‘Katakana’ and ‘Missile Command’ channel vintage Quicksand with punchy riffage and Sergio Vega’s signature bass tone absolutely punching through the mix in the best way possible. ‘EMDR’ is a huge highlight for me as it kind of encapsulates all of the things I love about Quicksand. The slippery verse riff leading to a magically entrancing chorus that I’ve had stuck in my head for days. Belter of a track that feels underserved buried so deep in the tracklisting, to be honest. ‘Rodan’ closes out the album in a weird yet wonderful way that leaves you longing for more, but I love when an album does that as it makes me want to listen through again immediately. I have to stress that Vega’s bass tone is monstrous, carrying this track perfectly.
As a whole, ‘Distant Populations‘ grooves hard and the band feels so locked in. It’s easy to hear that undeniable chemistry that comes from decades of playing together, especially these last few years touring as a three-piece. Alan Cage holds it down the whole time with rock-solid drumming like always. It also can’t be overlooked how important the production is here as well. Will Yip’s production and Josh Wilbur’s mixing make this thing sound enormous without ever being too saturated.
No matter what era of Quicksand you’re a fan of, you’re definitely going to find tracks on ‘Distant Populations’ to latch onto. Aforementioned legacy bands could really learn a lot from Quicksand and this album as somehow, they’ve managed to put all of the signature sounds that span multiple decades into a melting pot, crafting a record album that represents their history perfectly while also never sounding dated. That’s not an easy feat by any means and it can’t be overlooked because it really speaks to how stellar this band is. How they absolutely deserve the respect and the revered legacy that they have.
‘Distant Populations‘ is out now: