Review Summary: Good Australian screamo that isn't Love Like...Electrocution.
Sometime in late October, Italian screamo band La Quiete
were good enough to do a rather extensive tour of Australia and I was privileged enough to attend the first Brisbane date, which was held in the upstairs room of a small pub, apparently normally reserved for adult entertainment. Everyone in the venue seemed to know each other and until Sputnik user Concubine showed up to keep me company, I stood awkwardly at the back of the room by myself. All of this was forgotten when Quiet Steps began playing their set. The three piece's stripped down approach to screamo incorporated the best parts of Suis La Lune
and Tiny Hawks
, as well as the skillful guitar tricks of mid-tempo indie rockers such as Built to Spill
. The vocals from all three band members were intense as hell, particularly when coming from bassist Josh, who took almost a Jerome's Dream style approach to his vocal technique by virtually ignoring the presence of his microphone. Most of the audience seemed to know the words to songs, which made for a particularly incredible show when the voices of the audience were just as loud as those of the band. One particular song stood out, in which the three band members gradually dropped off their instrumental parts and were left screaming, along with most of the audience; "Watch the walls around/Be broken by/By the footsteps/From the outside"
. Needless to say, I ordered Quiet Steps
from the bands record label Yellow Ghost soon after that show.
Quiet Steps' powerful brand of screamo blends tricky, clean guitar passages with involved drumming, melodic basslines and intense screaming. At times their songwriting seems almost more influenced by indie rock than hardcore, though this is rarely the case lyrically. The band's real strength is in their ability to create powerful, emotional images with both words and music. "Letter to Walsingham", the record's highlight, mixes beautiful and desperate chord progressions with screamed vocals and lyrics such as "He said he was but a servant/A servant and a soldier/A battle lost by the queen/Was a loss of a crown"
. Sonically, Quiet Steps
is truly a no-frills record. There are no effects or overdubs apparent and Leon's guitar never even makes use of distortion, thus you certainly won't hear any chunky power chords in any of these songs.
If there's a big complaint to be made about Quiet Steps
, it's with the production. Sure, everything is easy to hear and mixed efficiently, but it makes the whole thing sound a little lifeless. Certainly nothing like the band's live show. The clean sounds prevent the album from having a raw quality, but on the other hand, it's a very stripped down package with nothing more than you'd find in the band's live set. The band's real power is in their live show, but Quiet Steps
is certainly promising for future releases. Fans of Suis La Lune, Mihai Edrisch, Tiny Hawks and various Kinsella projects would do well to check this out.
Why You're Living
Letter to Walsingham