Quickie — Lou Trez - Lead Vocals & Guitar, Retten Steincipher Backing Vocals, Drums, Keys & Pads, Joe Wolf - Backing Vocals & Guitar
Quickie is a Seattle-area alt-pop band that evokes a collage of throwback good-vibes rock from the 1970's-1990's, balanced with a tough edge which has matured over time. The band has evolved to thrive for over 10 years, releasing records and having fun with increasingly ambitious projects like playing 44 Seattle venues in 24 hours. Instead of settling into a formula, the band has reinvented itself with its newest release 500.
For their newest project, Quickie (Lou Trez, Joe Wolf and Retten Steincipher) have come out of the studio with the most sonically ambitious and adventurous record they've made. The songs highlight increased emphasis on harmony, a layered building approach to structure and a more textured rhythmic palate. Lou's catchy, punk song structures are peppered here with more genre-dynamic, free form arrangements prone to breakdown sections and building crescendos, such as the dynamic buildup of the slow burning 500.
The melodies are more complex and harmonized throughout the new songs. The rhythm guitar opts for a fuller chord-grip than the power chord-focused punch of past songs, while the band adds jolts of intensity with a more shred-oriented approach with dual lead guitar riffs. At their meanest, the lead guitars evoke Iron Maiden ("Pretty) but could be Thin Lizzy (4,3,2,1) or even Van Morrison in the sunnier moments. Many songs also enjoy the addition of a more experimental dreamy keys/synth layer that, along with more spacious and dramatic vocals, evoke a Flaming Lips sing-along.
500 no doubt embraces Quickie's classic, succinct pop formula with tight-knit songs and catchy guitar-chord driven rhythms. Its easily packaged and accessible but intriguingly postmodern in its meandering aesthetic, and blue notes of melancholy add depth to and balance out 's bubblegum-sweet sunny freshness. The poppiest moments for the band have gone into the realm of shiningly happy fantasies. With an almost psychedelic-pop feel, "I'm a Mess" reminded me of MGMT singing beatlemania, but with a Talking Heads drum tone. Still, the band layers those bright tracks with some harder darker moments than previously released. It feels like a band who has become comfortable and celebratory of their range.
Compared to the more straightforward punk speediness of Quickie's early releases, 500 has a slower but more full cadence. On "Any Why", the rhythm is a bit more spaced out and patient, indications of the bands' confidence and experience. The quiet spaces between punchy, focused chords allow bass to fill in warmly under shimmering, refracting strings and synthy keys. With the harmonies and complexities increased, Lou forgoes some of the front man showmanship of the past, and tends to slip into the pocket as a slyer bandleader in the vein Elvis Costello or modern-era Dylan.
500 is a continuation of a band not trying too hard to be cool, yet on 500 Quickie show they are also not too cool to try. If anything, the guys have allowed themselves the freedom to shred a bit harder as musicians and takes chances in executing a more surprising, dramatic arrangement of sound.