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Interiors Review

by Bekki Bemrose

Following a live reunion tour in 2013, post-hardcore heroes Quicksand return with their first new material in 22 years. Late-'90s false restarts and abandoned recording sessions ensured the band's two long-players, Slip and Manic Compression, remained enshrined and unsullied by potential later career nosedives. While the prospect of a new record was an exciting one for fans of the band, with it they risked their legacy of all-killer, no-filler.

Prior to the record's release, lead single "Illuminant" offered a mouth-watering taste of what would prove to be a gratifying comeback. The track is classic Quicksand with all their defining characteristics present and accounted for: Sergio Vega drives the groove with his ominous bassline alongside Alan Cage's commanding drumming, and Walter Schreifels' husky wail soars between those all-important signature breakdowns. They've managed to retain that combination of heaviness and groove that made their early work so compelling, while sounding as necessary as they did 20-plus years ago. It's possible to discern a slight shift in tone this time around. Interiors is the sound of a band having fun, as the playful winding and reversing rhythm of "Under the Screw," and Tom Capone's spirited, shuddering guitar work on "Warm and Low" suggest. Quicksand have preserved their brevity, and refusal to pander to the more indulgent side of rock, without forfeiting their ability to stretch beyond post-hardcore's limits. "Interiors"' ponderous conclusion nods to the band's shoegaze-like tendencies that consistently underpinned their heavier, aggressive urges. In "Cosmonauts" Schreifels' ability to conjure affecting melody amidst sonic assault is also intact. Much like their previous two records, Interiors doesn't rest on hooky lead singles, and it's a work that should be enjoyed as a whole (a concept more suited to the decade they last released a record).

As one of the more interesting and influential bands of the post-hardcore scene, Quicksand curiously never really broke from their cult status. Interiors is not only a quality record in isolation, it also encourages a reappraisal of their two previous efforts and the band's wider significance. Nevertheless, it's not an exercise in rehashing old glories, either. This record doesn't feel safe and cozy, and an underlying element of uncertainty prevails, as Schreifels hints, "How long can I stay, before we disintegrate." Evidently, long enough to make their third album at least. Happily, their record remains unblemished.

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