Five years since their last album, which featured the vocal talents of David Yow (The Jesus Lizard / Scratch Acid), Los Angeles duo Qui have reappeared as the original pairing of Paul Christensen (drums, vocals) and Matt Cronk (guitars, vocals). This album differs to their previous release, but this third full length still offers plenty of challenging, snarling attitudes despite its rather esoteric sound. From the press release that accompanied this promo, you just have to look at the list of influences to get a feel of how this album sounds. “early Sparks and Frank Zappa with Queen style harmonies” or “something like Badfinger, if they were the Melvins” sums it all up nicely. This is a very different sounding prospect to almost everything else, a rare treat these days.
It all sounds quite simple, minimalist, even easy going at first. Repeated listens and further investigation however, throw up a darker more intense side that offers something a bit more menacing, but never gives away too much. There is a heavy jazz influence, with tracks sounding very free and able to grow and evolve of their own free will. ‘Boogie Down Disappointment’ with its bass led melody to the scat vocals of which ‘This Kind Of Jazz’ is built around. The album even has its heavier moments, namely ‘Ham Spray’, with its chuggy, downtuned guitars and the punk fuelled ‘Mucho Sex In America’ throwing in a change of pace.
The one thing that is remains constant throughout is the vocal harmonies both between Christensen & Cronk. They create a stunning sound that sometimes distracts you from the inspired background noises. The vocal range of the duo is also very impressive, even more so when you think that Christensen is also playing drums at the same time. As a live prospect, they must be something really special. That is something I intend on checking out as soon as possible.
There is something very unique about this band, a couple of songs have moments that remind you of other bands or songs, but then they always seem to throw a distraction in and make it something very different. When you realize they have worked with Yow and that this album was co-produced with the Melvins Dale Crover, maybe it isn’t that surprising that the end product is something so varied. It definitely won’t be to a lot of peoples tastes, but if you interested in hearing something different and new, I heartily recommend giving this a spin, you will be rewarded.