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QUACK QUACK – Self-Titled (Run of the Mill Records)

Posted: December 5th, 2005, by Dave Stockwell

Here be a five-track mini-album by three fine men of Leeds. There be a bassist known as Stu, and there be a man economically manipulating tiny keyboards through some choice pedals known as Moz, and the drummer be Neil Turpin of Polaris/Bilge Pump fame (as well as previously heavenly rhythmic propulsion for the likes of Snail Racing and Doug Scharin’s HiM project). This minimal trio have conjured up 20-odd minutes of sublime trance-like pop songs, chock-full of bubbly and fizzing analogue synths, badass krautpoppin’, busting and droning basslines, and the obligatory smoother-than-smooth cool cat jazz of Turps’ insouciant rhythms.

I’ve been in a few minds about what I like best about this recording: the drums are predictably fantastic and infuse QQ’s every move with a wonderful restless energy and groove; but then the spare and solid basslines are the real weight behind their drive; but then the keyboards carry all the hooks and some fantastic square-wave textures and splutters and spurts that really do sound particularly lovely. Unfortunately, it looks like I’m going to have to resort to that awful music critic cliche of saying:

“The band is more than the sum of its parts.”

The problem is; it’s all too true. QQ is a minimal beast, but the economy of music (nothing too fancy, no pointless notes or sounds, every texture seemingly carefully chosen) makes the record a delight to stick on. It’s not too long (in fact the brevity is sublime), it’s not too produced (the sound is predictably spot-on), it’s not too ambitious or overwrought (every song progresses as far as feels absolutely right), it certainly isn’t slapdash or careless (not a note out of place). It just hits a number of buttons really, really well. Their music itself doesn’t scream maddening originality, but they do clearly revel in their influences – lo-fi synth pop, mantronic krautrock, chilled jazz, whatever – and weave a wonderful web of these sounds to end up giving you a CD that probably sounds different to everything else you’ll stick on today.

When QQ supported with Pit Er Pat earlier in the year, they made that band of (really rather good) keyboard-toting, fabuloso-drumming, quirkomatic popsters seem limp in comparison. At the time I couldn’t work out if it was to my chagrin that they blew away the headliners quite so sumptuously (and seeming so effortlessly), but now I have records by both bands I know which one I’m going to be returning to on a regular basis.

The final conclusion? A rare pleasure. Bravo, you three fine men. Now give me some more.


Dave Stockwell

David can always be relied on to end his e-mails with one of those 'np: blah blah' things in order to remind us of how much more music he listens to every day than anybody else. His interests include rockin ' out in a major style as guitarist in Souvaris, throwing frisbees from tall buildings "just to see what happens" and simply kickin' back with his bitches in a gold-plated jacuzzi.


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