Review Summary: Though Questamation is not quite the album anyone expected from Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker, the album is just as rewarding as its predecessor.
According to turntablist Jason Parsons, Questamation was supposed to be Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker's "hello to the world". In many respects, he's right; though the duo's EP Welding the C:/
was a bit of a hit in the Greater Toronto Area – enough to drag them out of the total obscurity that saw each band member working jobs half way across North America – they didn't really hit it big anywhere else.
That Welding the C:/
was such a popular EP was somewhat surprising. Though carried by the strength of singles "2 15/16" and especially "Hollow Point Sniper Hyperbole", the group's brand of electronica and drum and bass on the other four tracks were kind of eccentric in the way only a group that calls themselves Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker could be eccentric. Questamation
sees Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker change direction; the ambience and drum and bass influences have been done away with in favour of the more commercial friendly aspects of "Hollow Point Sniper", but that doesn't mean they've lost any of their weirdness or originality. Questamation
's sound is still rather distinct and simply sees Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker taking it down a different direction.
None of the twelve tracks featured on Questamation
are quite as good as "Hollow Point Sniper Hyperbole", but a few of them come close. "Cloudboy" and "Laces Out" are the most similar, fusing together a quirky amalgamation of rock and electronic music. The alleged grunge characteristics that are supposed to influence the band's sound are even more pronounced on "Stranger to Myself", a song structured around simple, yet effective guitar riffs. "PS. I Can Change" slows things down in a way Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker has never done before; in comparison to the peaceful ambience heard on a couple of Wielding the C:/
's songs, this track is more akin to a ballad, only without the sappy sounding effects. "Man Makes the Zoo" is a fast-paced piece similar to Questamation
's first few tracks, differing in that it maintains more of an alternative rock sound than electronic rock, and is one of the album's strongest songs.
If anything, Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker spends too much of Questamation
trying to achieve the flare of "Hollow Point Sniper Hyperbole". Though they don't exactly succeed in writing twelve replicas of "Hollow Point Sniper Hyperbole", Questamation
's final product is almost as good and a tad bit less same-y that it would have been. Aside from the unfortunate "Stationary Robbery", a novelty rap that isn't funny, and the forgettable interlude, "Better Living Center", the weak points on Questamation
are few. While the album isn't exactly what one would have expected from Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker, Questamation
remains a rewarding record listen to.