ARTIST: Quicksand + ALBUM: Interiors + LABEL: Epitaph + RELEASED: NOV 10, 2017
Back with their first new album in 22 years, NYC post-hardcore juggernauts Quicksand deliver Interiors. It’s an album that fits its cover art perfectly. The surrealistic image of a mountain side, a window floating in air, and through the window a view of an ocean. It would certainly make René Magritte proud, but for listeners who didn’t take Art Appreciation in college, it is representative of the music heard across its 12 tracks. It’s both dense and wide open. It strikes you as something immediately familiar in one second, then grabs your hand and hustles you down a dark hallway in the next. Not that the material here is dark, per se, but it is a mysterious and entrancing journey.
What’s most notable about this album is that it sounds like Quicksand, but it doesn’t. Where Slip leveraged loud-quiet-loud song dynamics into pure headbangers and Manic Compression was more of a straight forward endurance test, Interiors sounds like the band who made those albums, but with two decades of marination under their belts. Overall, it seems more melodic than the bands previous releases. Songs like the album opener, “Illuminant,” “Cosmonauts” and “Feels Like a Weight Has Been Lifted” are good examples. But, there are other tracks that sound closer to “classic” Quicksand, like “Under the Screw,” “Sick Mind,” and the title track. “Warm and Low,” “Fire this Time,” and “Hyperion” represent the combination of the classic sound with the albums overall melodic bent.
The original band is back for this album, singer/guitarist Walter Schreifels, bassist Sergio Vega, drummer Alan Cage, and guitarist Tom Capone, and they each sound like more mature musicians. The arrangements across these songs are intricate, but not overwrought. Each individual is bringing something interesting to the table, but collectively they stopped short of overthinking the process. Everything sounds just right. The guitar playing on “Interiors” is a perfect example. It’s minimal, yet weird and atypical. Of course, Vega brings some killer bass lines to the mix, particularly on “Warm and Low,” but throughout the album he and drummer Cage are more than a rhythm section, they’re the anchor.
Interiors doesn’t have anything as catchy as “Dine Alone” or “Fazer,” but that’s because it’s an entirely different animal. Quicksand could’ve easily gone a paint-by-numbers route and recreated Slip, but these are musicians who after a two decade absence sound like even better musicians and songwriters than they were when they made their 1993 classic. The songs here look inward and each track takes on a life of its own. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the bands back catalog, this is a great album and certainly a lot more interesting than most of this years releases.
– J. Kevin Lynch