BAND OF THE WEEK: QUILT

20 Nov

Tempting as it may be to pull focus on the more incongruous elements found in the songs and sounds of Quilt – as presented on their exceptional, boundlessly beautiful debut album – to do so would be ill-considered, in a way that their music never is.

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We would expect a band called Quilt to compose and construct songs containing multiple layers – in the case of the Massachusetts trio currently under discussion, those layers include inspired two and three-part harmonies, massive choral-pop-psych hooks mixed with rhythmic diversity, and a neo-folk sensibility that resists the conventional and never shies away from the ceremonial. What we might not expect is for those layers to work quite so magically when stitched together.

That magic/magick is there from the album’s start, finding Quilt in full-flower on opener “Young Gold,” which builds from a plaintive, two-note intro to a dizzying devotional in just minutes, finding its end in a repeating maelstrom of mantra-like vocals, guitars chiming along happily. Listening initially, we flashed on one of our favorite zodiac signs and you, who I still love. Yet this is no band looking to the past, longingly. Like other current bands who hold us spellbound via their ability to triangulate the acoustic, the gorgeous and the gothic, Quilt would appear to hold too many questions about the future to be much more than haunted by the past.

Download “Cowboys In the Void” by Quilt

And if Quilt isn’t haunted by the past (and who isn’t, really?), we’re comfortable accusing them of being haunted by something.

We hear it in the space the separates the tentative opening notes of “Cowboys In the Void” from the effortless, liquid flow of the songs later sections, culminating in a muscular, mystical march.

We hear it in the tight reverberations of the spectacular earth drone of “Children of Light,” who, we are told, “sleep in darkness, too.”

And we hear it in the intoxicating “Penobska Oakwalk,” a song that connects by exploring our inability to connect, as Quilt themselves are unable to complete a thought (“How did we get so …” goes its open-ended plea), ultimately declaring that “language deflated the zeppelin of the consciousness.” We’re confident you’ll hear no words so Paris Review-ready sung with such clarity, character and ardor this year.

This Quilt is comfortable, without question. But its comfort is born of its confusion, splitting the musical difference between patient paranoia and cosmic confidence, righteously considering its contradictions. We’ll undoubtedly be under its spell for some time to come.

UPDATE: Read our interview with Quilt here.

 

“In so far as one denies what is, one is possessed by what is not, the compulsions, the fantasies, the terrors that flock to fill the void.” – Ursula K. Le Guin

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One Response to “BAND OF THE WEEK: QUILT”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. QUILT « Revolt of the Apes - January 3, 2012

    […] trio’s layered sound, which we praised for its inspired vocal harmonies, generous choral-pop-psych hooks, rhythmic diversity and overall […]

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