Review Summary: A good record, but basically a re-worked version of "Slip."
Apparently, I’m missing some kind of revelation when it comes to Quicksand. A “pioneering” post-hardcore band, they were part of the first real “wave” of it (yayaya Husker Du blah blah blah shut up), along with Fugazi, Drive Like Jehu, Helmet, and Nation of Ulysses. Like all of those bands their debut record is widely regarded as a masterpiece of the genre, and one of the most influential punk records of the early 90’s. However, every other one of those bands released sophomore records that built upon their debuts and resulted in even more spectacular efforts. Quicksand? Well they tried, but all that really ended up happening is they mixed things up a bit without making anything new.
What made Quicksand’s debut Slip
so damn great was how brutal it was. It was heavier than pretty much anything their peers had produced, and Manic Compression
attempts to follow in that same path, albeit with less emphasis on angular guitar noise and more melodic moments. When the band succeeds they definitely succeed hard; “Thorn In My Side” is a blistering track that combines the noisy-ness they previously epitomized with more melodic and less sludgy instrumentals. “Supergenius” is mega-catchy and still edgy, and gives a good indicator of where Quicksand would have went had they continued.
However, I cant help but feel this was the transition record towards something greater that just never appeared. For every new, interesting approach to songwriting they took on this record, theres two examples of plain rehashing from previous material. “Blister” is a good song, but it feels a little to similar to “Omission” for my tastes. The unfortunate part is that’s where most of the album ends up; filled with good songs that just aren’t any kind of marked improvements over anything on Slip
. In fact, the only song that is outright below-par is closer “It Would Be Cooler If”, which meanders arund for 6+ minutes; its just that everything else eels like a reworking of an older song.
had the makings to be just as good a record as Slip
undoubtedly. The songs are slightly tighter and everything is more digestible. However, they seemed to restrain themselves from restraining themselves; you’re left wishing they would either go full-out again or stick to being a melodic post-hardcore/grunge band. As it is, Manic Compression
is a very good album chock full of songs t rock the fu
ck out too. It’s just not anything that special.