Quiet Steps
Think Aloud


4.5
superb

Review

by Andrew H. EMERITUS
November 25th, 2010 | 61 replies | 20,937 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: For me, Think Aloud in 2010 is a bit like Kidcrash's Jokes was in 2007 in that I pretty much can't find anything wrong with it.

Note: Think Aloud is available for free download from the band's MySpace page: www.myspace.com/quietsteps

For me, Think Aloud in 2010 is a bit like Kidcrash's Jokes was in 2007 in that I pretty much can't find anything wrong with it. To begin with I should probably lay my cards on the table and say that Quiet Steps has, over the past three years, become one of my favourite bands in the world. I'm sure I've seen them over a dozen times at this point and I hold a number of those shows as some of my best memories of live music at this early stage of my life. What Quiet Steps shows occasionally lack in polishedness is more than made up for in sincerity, which is one of the defining marks of quality screamo anyway. I say all this to point out that it's near impossible for me to separate the final product of Think Aloud with my experiences of the band as people and as a live entity, and even if it were, I'm not sure I would want to. The record's sincerity in its songwriting and production bleeds into the personalities that are responsible for it.

Most obviously, Quiet Steps' brand of screamo follows in the footsteps of indie guitar rock-influenced groups like Sinaloa by utilising shouted vocals over the top of moderately catchy and recognisable riffs. But while the aesthetic is at least similar, the songs of Think Aloud are far more effective at conveying urgency and desperation; partly due to the more jagged rhythms, partly due to the ability of the bass and drums to drive the parts forward, but mostly due to the tense interplay between the instruments and the vocals. The band's influences are apparent throughout the record, but never once does it feel as if they're just playing to a template. Hot Cross-styled pull-off riffs, for example, are used to great effect throughout the record, but rather than being smooth and fluid they are played with a tight, straight feel that serves to increase the urgency of the music. The band approach their techniques with a 'whatever works' approach: the guitar utilising chunky chords, slides, pull-offs, droning notes, busy changes, palm-muting, and tight rhythms; the bass using chords, arpeggios, driving notes, and complex patterns; and the drums playing everything from start-stop patterns to dance beats; often within the space of the same song.

The songs work by building up multiple moments of catharsis within short spaces, all of which dart in and out through each song in a way in which each parts builds on the previous the one. Rather than building riffs and patterns up dynamically and growing the listener's expectations through restraint like in post-rock, the songs use riffs and sections as building blocks to create larger pieces. The approach doesn't always have the immediate gratification of dynamic explosions, but it's certainly more satisfying on repeated listens. The album's most cathartic moments are generally its most moving, like the heavy riff that closes out "Assimilate"; the plodding, melodic build-up to the brutal start-stop section of "Measure Reaction"; or the final busy chord progression of "Mirage".

The most satisfying song of the record is, however, "Dead Sea", a piece that comes in just short of 7 minutes but feels less than half that length. It's one of those rare tracks where everything comes together perfectly: where no melodic, rhythmic, or dynamic choice is out of place; where the lyrics and group vocals slot into each section effortlessly; where the instruments trade off roles, weaving in and out frome each other; and where the final riff (the heaviest and best on the album) is both subtly emotive and ballsy as all hell.

When I reviewed Quiet Steps' first EP in 2007, my chief complaint about it was that the production made the whole thing feel slightly sterile. I'm happy to report that this has been entirely fixed. In fact, the production on Think Aloud couldn't be better; the vocals move between the foreground and background of the mix, the drums are tuned beautifully and sit in the mix perfectly, the bass sounds smooth and fat, and the guitar is perfectly crunchy with smooth, glassy overdrive dominating the loud parts and a thick clean tone sitting in the quieter moments.

Think Aloud is one of, if not the, best screamo records since Jokes in 2007. If I'm perhaps a little biased towards the record, it's only because these songs have defined moments of my life for the past few years, and really, there's no higher compliment I can pay a record than that.



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user ratings (59)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Hep Kat
November 25th 2010



15352 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

cool. i have this but i haven't listened to it yet. i guess i will tomorrow or something

Digging: Botany Boyz - Forever Botany

qwer7yfreak
November 25th 2010



486 Comments


This sounds quiet good. And hey, actual free music, y'know, without the pesky drawback of having to break the law and pirate it.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
November 25th 2010



10593 Comments


Getting...

musicConsumer
November 26th 2010



494 Comments


I downloaded this like a month ago and never listned to it

EvilCashew
November 26th 2010



132 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sounds pretty awesome. Gonna have to get my hands on this.

whyumad
November 26th 2010



23 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

finally a review on this. Such a sick album! and mad review too.

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2010



7091 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Awesome getting now

plane
Staff Reviewer
November 26th 2010



6094 Comments


Cool album Hartwig, I dig it. Review is quick and effective.

Calculate
November 26th 2010



1135 Comments


This. Sounds. Fucking. Awesome.

Enotron
November 26th 2010



7695 Comments


will get, always down for new skrams

liledman
November 26th 2010



3826 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

sounds incredible, whats the catch

liledman
November 26th 2010



3826 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hang on... this sounds really familiar. i think there was some dude on sputnik a while ago that played in this band.

edit: no its not. and downloading now.

Heysatan
November 26th 2010



276 Comments


this looks so awesome

Josh D.
November 26th 2010



13967 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

THE BREAD MAN!

I'm going to have to try this out.

DFelon204409
Emeritus
November 26th 2010



3995 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album really is great. Thanks for the review.

Skimaskcheck
November 26th 2010



2360 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

reference to Jokes? getting this

DeadbeatDankity
November 26th 2010



149 Comments


Definitely going to check this out. Nice review.

sniper
November 26th 2010



19048 Comments


This better be good because I went to myspace to get it.

Josh D.
November 26th 2010



13967 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's pretty nice.

Hep Kat
November 26th 2010



15352 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

not bad at all



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