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THE QUALIS Master of Imperfection Like The Sound (2010)

The Quails

The Quails are a band with a bright future and with a more than reasonable chance of enjoying rich reward in the contemporary indie rock market. They are bright, brash, energetic, revved up, rocking and raring to go. And yet they don't quite burn as brightly as you would hope possibly because they simply try to hard to fit into an already existing niche. The aim should surely be to offer something slightly new. As it is they cleverly recycle some high energy, stop-start, riff driven well crafted power pop that has already served several higher profile bands very well.

'Master of Imperfection' is the band's second album and it's a high powered slice of pop-rock bursting with energy, bristling with tension and topped by Dan Steer's angst ridden vocals. Already firmly ensconced on the festival circuit and armed with a catalogue of promising songs and plenty of gigs The Quails may well positioned to jump on the indie rock circuit, but you suspect they probably have greater objectives in mind.

While all requisite elements are in place, with shades of the Kaiser Chiefs anthems to the post punk energy of The Killers - and with 11 songs on which they just about fashion their own signature sound - there's still work to be done. Some of the songs sound like promising works in progress. The title track for example, is full of tension filled staccato guitar lines over a characteristic contemporary quiet/loud arrangement, while the production aims for a post Duran Duran style feel. The single 'Argentina' is a slice of power pop on which they almost try too hard. It's a promising song but is not yet the finished product.

Far better is the slightly more focussed 'Fever' on which Max Armstrong's powerful guitar lines cut through a synth backdrop and flamboyant cymbal splashes from Chris Prentice. And if Fever' is the kind of song that the band spend most of the rest of the album trying to emulate, then 'I Know Myself' is the highlight. Dan Steer gives full reign to his vocal range, effortlessly revisiting the Ian Gillan style scream to be found on the preceding slow burner 'Shining Star'. The band explodes like a spring coil but rather than pushing on to an explosive end they choose to reign in their energy levels on The Stranglers influenced 'For The Good Times', before wrapping things up simply with a brief 90+ second piano/vocal duet.

The Quails exude confidence and their music is punchy and played with real fire. All that is lacking is a tad of originality and few more killer songs.


Review by Pete Feenstra

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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