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Master Of Imperfection by The Quails

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Reviewed on 31st August 2010.


Master Of Imperfection

By The Quails

Quail: - a collective name for several of mid-sized birds.

This flock are led by Singer Dan Steer with guitarist Max Armstrong and a rhythm section of Sam Banks and Chris Prentice. To describe the band's sound in three words I would say they were an Explosive Plume of Fervency.

I'm struck by the immediate style that The Quails have hit upon. Their opening track 'Games With The Devil' from the album 'Master Of Imperfection' has little introduction and thrusts itself into the fore. Their sound is driven by counter balancing, quenchy guitar lines that grab you hook, line and sinker. The tempo's are high and upbeat, giving a modern indie rock sound. Yet with originality. The album has wonderful brakes and pauses used to masterful effect leaving you wanting more.

The band ambitiously keep you guessing playing with their song arrangements to break the typical mold.

The second track 'Princess' arrives from the distance with splashing cymbals from Chris Prentice on the kit that bobs and weaves throughout. A guitar line chimes endless arpeggios' that ring and ring. By now your head is bobbing left and right.

Again, the band enjoys delving into a dissonant middle eight section before resolving in its original lightness.

The band tightly sweeps into the title track 'Master of Imperfection' which feels and sounds stronger as a composition. Backing vocals lift the voices out where we hear more adventurous lyrics.

What The Quails seem to be very good at is skillfully dropping off and bearing down on the listener in equal measure. The title track has clean and spacious moments before the dirty guitars breathe down on you in conclusion.

A playful guitar line opens the track 'Argentina,' shifting and chugging in unison with the tom-tom rolling and reverberating. There is an unmistakable telecaster stamp on some of guitar lines from Max Armstrong on the album that harmonise during many interspersed voicings. Wonderful tones that chime and break-up are used throughout the album on every note and chord.

The track 'That Other World,' again proves the band's tight structure and dynamic flare. A sprinkle of synthesiser is used to subtly bridge the song.

The track 'Fever' opens with a flaming guitar line before the band skillfully drops out again for the verses. Guitar crescendos build and then the audio envelope is well and truly forced open with a fiercesome guitar interlude.

A lighter track gives welcome relief. The track 'Shining Star' lands with piano chords slow and reflective in mood. Guitars echo this feeling and the vocal lines from frontman Dan Steer push into new realms not yet heard on the album so far. The song is minimal and climes to a roaring chorus and somewhat incongruously jumps into another adventurous middle section seeping with guitar solo's. The song is resolved quite simply with piano and vocal.

The song 'I Know Myself' thunders in and is a high octane thrash of guitar licks and drum kicks backed up with pumping synths. The song features some of the best vocal moments on the album as the lead singer pushes the register throughout. - Yes Sir!

Following on 'This Town' jinks and soars its way through the door. You find yourself rocking left and right to the ska / reggae grove with whispers of organs and a continuously interesting arrangement. You could go as far as saying The Quails' album has a few musical nods in the direction of their peers that are subtle and used well.

The track 'For The Good Times' continues to convince me that this is indeed an explosive album. If it were a vegetable, you couldn't hold onto this hot potatoe!! Produced by the head of department for sound for The Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, 'Master of Imperfection' is definitely "dynamite."

The concluding track - 'Transmit, Evade and Escape' is testament to the spirit of the album. The song gives classic rock chord progressions and emotional canyons with still waters that run deep. It's a warm and sincere close to a thrusting album.

The band has recently been supporting names such as Newton Faulkner and KT Tunstall and Muse. I would expect to see The Quails flying over again very soon.



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