Thursday, January 22, 2009

Album: Quiet Loudly - Destroy All Monsters

Destroy All Monsters
Album: Destroy All Monsters
Self-released, 2008
Rating: ****** (6/10)

I got my copy of this album ages ago but it's taken me a while to figure out what to say about it. The truth is, I'm not sure what to make of this band. Their influences seem to be all over the map, and though most of the bands they name on their MySpace page are somewhat contemporary experimental and/or pop acts, to my ears, Quiet Loudly's sound has more elements of 70's hard rock than anything else. Hard rock reinterpreted with psychedelic and post-rock sensibilities, but hard rock nonetheless.

Destroy All Monsters is fractured and weighty, mostly built on steady, plodding 4/4 rhythms. It's soulful and noisy, often sounding jam-based or at least improvisational, but despite this, the songs mostly maintain vision and focus. Most do wear on a bit too long but the problem is in length only, not in the cohesiveness of each track.

As a whole, the album is mind-blowingly creative, with completely fresh and interesting ideas around every corner. Unfortunately, as with a lot of creative bands I've reviewed in the past, Quiet Loudly hasn't edited themselves well. The ideas are raw and unworked, and quite a few parts were included that don't seem worthy of the album. Particularly, there is a lot of arpeggiated guitar I can't quite get behind - it sounds random, like the chords you play when you're really tired and mindlessly plucking your guitar while thinking about something else (and by "you," I mean "I"). Not every idea that sounds cool needs to become a song.

The band gained some major brownie points with me by naming their album "Destroy All Monsters," which means they either share my love for my favorite obscure 70's art rock band or they share a taste in b-movies with my favorite obscure 70's art rock band. Either way, awesome.

However, they subsequently lost some major points with me when I found the last track of the album to be a Lou Reed cover. It's actually a pretty decent cover, a kind of spooky version of "Walk on the Wild Side" but covering the Velvet Underground or early Lou Reed is a big pet peeve of mine. It is always a poor decision because these songs have been so influential and so often covered that there is absolutely nothing new to say about any of them.

In the end, though, Destroy All Monsters is an excellent showcase of Quiet Loudly's talent as musicians and creativity as composers. The good songs make the album worthy of your attention. Just don't expect a smooth ride when you listen. Following your wackiest inspirations can be a bumpy road, but ultimately it's rewarding. For better or worse, it's a rough and raw, an appropriate snapshot of a band's first strides. And I'm already looking forward to seeing where the next steps will take them from here.

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