The boys are back, and they’ve changed quite a bit. Quicksand stepped back into live touring in 2012, keeping their original line-up with Walter Schreifels on vocals and rhythm guitar, Tom Capone on lead guitar, Sergio Vega on bass and Alan Cage on drums. They have been steadily adding shows and garnering new interest for themselves after almost 13 years apart. With a failed reunion and unfinished album in 1995 after initially splitting in 1993, Quicksand have a lot of ground to cover.
Quicksand established themselves as a hard-rocking force of nature 22 years ago, but one question remains; have they still got it? Their new album called Interiors is to be released on the 10th of November this year, and Epitaph Records have kindly given Overdrive Mag an early listen.
Recored at Studio 4 Recording in Pennsylvania, Quicksand enlisted the help of Producer Will Yip, who has previously worked with the likes of Menzingers, Title Fight and Pianos Become the Teeth. In comparison to their grungy, rough-cut but intense sound in their previous albums Slip (1993) and Manic Compression (1995), Interiors boasts a more matured and streamlined sound, seeming to reach for a prog-rock feel. Walter’s vocals have become cleaner, suiting their new sound perfectly while the guitars and bass have evolved intelligently, masterfully guiding the listener through each song. When asked about the new album, Walter had this to say: “it was all just about being ourselves and who we were as well as who we are.” After listening to the album, this statement could not be more fitting. It could be said that long-time fans of the band might find Quicksand’s album lacking in comparison to their previous work, but it is definitely an album that takes a few listens to really appreciate.
First up is their newly released single, ‘Illuminant.’ This song is an immediate demonstration of how Quicksand have cast off their old grunge skin in favour of a less aggressive prog vibe. ‘Illuminant’ is a curiously low-key opening for the album, but solid nonetheless.
‘Under the Screw’ follows after ‘Illuminant,’ and it has more familiar Quicksand feel. Opening with a rapid drum fill courtesy of the ever-talented Cage, the guitars break into a simple but interesting main riff. The chorus feels a little flat, not quite living up to the tension that the verses build. Not quite as intense as their old material, but an effective combination of old and new ideas.
Coming into the third song of the album, ‘Warm and Low,’ the realisation hits that the first two songs were just warming up. This song doesn’t seem to lose pace at all, building upon itself with delayed guitars and a skipping beat grabbing the listeners’ attention. With a chuggy main riff and a soaring vocal lead-in to a solid mosh-worthy chorus, this song is bound to be a crowd favourite.
Next is Interlude one, a short and serene instrumental piece that that drifts along, setting the scene for the following song called ‘Cosmonauts.’
Like the name suggests, ‘Cosmonauts’ is a wondrous atmospherical listening experience, with a tom-heavy beat and delicate guitar parts. Walter’s husky vocals bring the song to completion, casting the listener afloat in space. This track is a huge change in sound for Quicksand, beautifully written and executed.
Set in stark contrast to ‘Cosmonauts’ is their title track called ‘Interiors.’ The intro riff is deceptive, giving way into a gentle first verse before the song builds into a behemoth of heavy, quirky riffs that make for a satisfying song. It is definitely deserving of its position as the title track, a perfect showcase of how they have evolved musically after all this time.
It feels as though the next song, ‘Hyperion’ pales in comparison to ‘Interiors,’ lacking any major highs and lows throughout the song. It is a slow paced track that seems to wander along, almost without a purpose.
‘Fire This Time’ starts with a gritty, dirty riff that solidifies into the first verse, backed with a simple but effective drumbeat that gets heads nodding. The chorus has a euphoric feel, with the vocals elevating the spirits while held up by heavy guitars and a driving beat. The song ends well, with a hard riff tailed by a single guitar lick that catches the ear.
Slowing the pace again is ‘Feels Like a Weight Has Been Lifted’, the quiet intro developing into a brisk beat accompanied by muted guitars. Like ‘Hyperion’, this song is solid but still lacking in intensity and dynamic.
Interlude two is a low pitched, minor key instrumental, filled with tension and a sense of creeping dread, before ending quite literally on a brief high note.
A brisk drum pattern leads the intro for ‘Sick Mind’, with muted tremolo picking providing the tonal setting for the low, drawling vocals. The feeling of tension throughout the song neatly mirrors the feeling of Interlude two, a finishing touch on a twisted sounding piece.
‘Normal Love’ is a laid-back piece that just bleeds a sexy feel, with Walter’s vocals and Sergio’s cool and reserved bassline lending to the tone of the verses. The chorus has a more remorseful feel, the music itself telling its own story of “normal love”.
As a whole, Quicksand‘s new album Interiors heralds a fresh start and change of direction for the band, while still incorporating the virtues of their old sound. With the exception of a few low points in the album, the songs form a cohesive and multi-faceted addition to their discography.
Interiors will be out on 10 November 2017. You can pre-order the album here.