Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Review: The Quicksand Band "Approaching Rain" album launch

Album launches must be one of the most stressful experiences a band can go through.  What with all the added pressure that goes on behind the scenes, with the guest list, merch, and promotion, suddenly taking on equal importance to the show itself.  Far too often the gig suffers as a result. The bands who crumble under this pressure are usually not that good to begin with. The good bands step up and push themselves to the limit. The Quicksand Band delivered their personal best.

Support act Fear of Folk, delivered a fine set of mid tempo acoustic rock numbers, think Travis at their best, with added pedal steel and you wont go wrong. Several of their songs were of an extremely high standard. Which indicates that they are well ahead of the curve, for a relatively new band on the scene.

It was standing room only as The Quicksand Band, cemented their live reputation in front of a buoyant crowd, at the launch of their debut album Approaching Rain, upstairs in Whelans.  Hailing from Tallaght, this alt country rock quartet, follow in the dusty footsteps of Neil Young, Tom Petty, and Wilco. Delivering a range of material from breezy, feel-good, 60′s folk tinged Cali-pop, to brooding grungy premonitions of death.

Lead singer Justin Corr, has a powerful emotive voice capable of belting out big luscious notes with ease. The Quicksand Band, are very much a vocal-harmony group and the interplay between Corr and lead guitarist Phil Clarke, is at times exquisite. Clarke’s guitar riffs in the main, are classic meaty country-style riffs. But he is not afraid to delve into Harrison-esque blues territory, on songs such as “Beaming Out”.  While his solos have an alt rock guitar hero feel to them. The rhythm section of Shay “sex-face” Cosgrave (drums) and Bonezz (bass) is accomplished.

The murky, Neil Young style “Stars Appear” is an early highlight, built on a crunchy swamp riff.  Forthcoming single “Learning” is a breezy radio friendly jaunt, set somewhere between early Fleetwood Mac and Nilsson, which extends into a long expansive guitar solo. Expect to hear this track on the radio next summer. Clarke, takes lead vocals on several songs “Bury My Bones” sees him deliver his finest vocal of the evening. This song, must certainly be in the mix for single status. Having a distinctive sound, with an old west gold-rush feel to it.

The album’s title track “Approaching Rain” is another highlight. It showcases Corr’s gentler side on another radio friendly number. Midway through the track Clarke enters with a highly hummable melody line, which sets the song up for a lighter in-the-air extended finale.  Songs such as “All The Love” and “Time” further showcase the bands diverse sound.  A cover of Van Morrison’s “Warm Love” caps of an excellent performance.

Approaching Rain, is available from Tower Records and Bandcamp now. With an itunes release to follow shortly. 

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