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Quicksand - Interiors

Format: Purchase
Released: 2017
Label: Epitaph Records
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 9/10

RE: Quicksand's 2017 comeback album, "Interiors": it took me a few listens, but now I get it.


In many ways, this is the same Quicksand whose bass-prominent blend of Alternative, Metal, pre-Emo, Punk, Post-Hardcore, Pop, and Hard Rock resonated across the in-the-know Metal community of the 90s. In a few major ways, though, this is a very different, quieter, older-sounding band. While the instruments hum with the same vitality as ever, Walter Schreifels has shelved his Ian MacKaye-intensity shouts, favoring a more low-key vocal tone. The differences between “Interiors” and “Slip” or “Manic Compression” are subtle, but may still prove a little bit jarring for long-time fans.
My advice to newcomers and old-timers alike: listen straight-through once, give it a few days, then cue it up for another spin. If you’re like me, your first impression will be: good, but not great. On subsequent plays, I predict that the slyly creative greatness of the riffage and composition will hit you - - every bit as powerfully as "Dine Alone" did 25+ years ago.*

The songs on “Interiors” each have their own individual personalities that you probably can’t fully appreciate on your first encounter, but will come to cherish through familiarity. Within each song, each of the four core elemental tracks - - the bass, guitars, drums, and vocals - - feel intensely personal and of the utmost importance to that member of the band. They operate with independence and strength within the collaborative cohesion of the piece, with nothing in the way of solos or spotlight-seeking. And the transcendent moments on Interiors are the direct result of this. The parts that will keep me coming back again and again are the sections within the songs where the guitar or bass or drums individually step out and do something beautiful as part of the melody. This is prevalent throughout, so it makes it hard to choose highlights. Try “Illuminant,” the title track, “Cosmonauts,” “Warm and Low,” and “Sick Mind” for starters. I also like the small interlude instrumentals, but I don’t want to type their names here, because I don’t know if they’ll screw up the web-page formatting; think “Less Than” and “Less Than Less Than.” Or is it supposed to be “Play” and “Fast-Forward?”
Once you accept that this isn’t quite the Quicksand you knew, and you accept it on its own merits, then you’ll be ready to embrace “Interiors” as a worthy addition to Quicksand’s small but important oeuvre. Not an upgrade, but an update. Think of other updates in your life: software/OS/apps/etc. Sometimes even when there are no improvements, the changes feel good, after a brief adjustment period.

* (If you haven't heard Dine Alone, then go check it out. It’s a masterpiece, and a quietly significant milestone in 90s Metal history.)


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