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ALBUM REVIEW: Interiors – Quicksand

The lasting impression that QUICKSAND have had on the post-hardcore scene is undeniable. For those not even born at the time of their disbandment, and thus missed out on the importance of the New York outfit’s influence on the alternative scene over the last two decades, then their third album Interiors is not only a glimpse into that past, but an evolution of what was and is now.

Long, drawn out bass notes introduce QUICKSAND‘s more familiar territory on the albums opener Illuminant, an angular throbbing that offers something implicitly menacing as it reaches its apex than a racing finish. Guitarist and vocalist Walter Schreifels‘ rasp is far more tranquil than you’ll perhaps remember from 1995s Manic Compressions. But it’s quickly evident that Interiors is not a simple follow-up record. Swathes of distressed guitars ebb and flow throughout second track Under The Screw that sees the bands approach this time around more playful, galloping in that same 90s speed that twists with spectacular, scuzzy fervour.

There are clinch-pin elements to this record that draw on their 22 year hiatus. Schreifels’ formed RIVAL SCHOOLS and other projects, while bassist Sergio Vega replaced the late Chi Cheng in DEFTONES, but it seems the spell of QUICKSAND never really left them alone. The heavier fuzz in Fire This Time is heightened by Vega‘s nasty bass, while Schreifels’ vocal delivery in Cosmonauts is crooningly smooth rather than a raging bite — seemingly sitting far more comfortably for the singer and leaving scope for impassioned, melodic guitars.

The band came back together for a string of live shows back in 2015, and with the rumour mill rife with anticipation for a new album, QUICKSAND ventured into the studio on their own terms, resulting in an album that feels like a homecoming. Having emerged in 1990 at the height of the grunge invasion, the post-hardcore acolytes musically shifted across realms of shoegaze timings, heavy riffs and throaty vocals that have inspired younger bands rising the ranks today. It’s seems only fitting that Interiors was recorded with producer Will Yip – who coaxes the same dynamic from bands like TITLE FIGHT, CITIZEN and LA DISPUTE – without the shine of polished, heightened production.

There’s no extravagant production here. In Feel Like A Weight Has Been Lifted you can almost see the vibration of strings as Vega deliberately assaults with melody in the verses; or the tinny speed of Alan Cage’s sticks attacking the crash cymbal that only just pierces through a chorus of wah-wah guitars. Without chewing the fat every move is deliberately thought out without the baggage of nostalgia. Searing guitars are dizzying in Sick Mind that tease to explode but disappear on the songs abrupt stop, and a punchy rhythm in the albums closer Normal Love seated in a dirty riff is energetic, despite the slow speed; it’s certainly not disappointing to see QUICKSAND stray from allure of creating a record that sits in the past.

Yes, Interiors may be QUICKSAND‘s big return, but armed with a formula that derives from the 90s as well as the two decades in-between have created a record that embraces the present and is forward thinking to it’s core, and proof that QUICKSAND should be welcomed back with scores of open arms.

Rating: 8/10

Interiors - Quicksand

Interiors is out now via Epitaph Records.

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