Quilt Craft Shimmering Psych Pop on ‘Plaza’ (ALBUM REVIEW)


MEX206-Cover-5002In the ever expanding world of indie psych rock, Quilt stands out. Anna Fox Rochinski’s sultry, smoky voice is haunting and pierces through her band’s trippy, fluid arrangements, lulling you into their colorful, fully bloomed world. Plaza, the band’s third album, hones in on this sound, but also doesn’t limit them to it. That psychedelic warble is woven throughout, and it enhances their moody mod vibe, but the band plays with garage rock, dream pop and even alt folk on Plaza, and for that it is a more compelling record.

The album is made up of reconstructed and refined old demos and brand new tracks, which perhaps explains the genre-jumping. Ultimately, though, there are hooks aplenty on offer with Plaza, and fans of Quilt’s past work will embrace the hodge podge nature. The fact that Rochinski shares vocal duties with bandmate Shane Butler, alternating between songs, contributes to the differing sounds, and for this listener, Rochinski is the more intriguing singer (though their harmonies are smooth as hell). Rochinski brings an air of mystery to the songs she sings, as though she is inhabiting an alter ego. There are hints of Nico in her performances, particularly on album opener “Passersby”, one of the standouts on Plaza. It is a stunner of a song with a melody that is equal parts ghostly and danceable. “Your Island” and “O’Connor’s Barn” are especially lovely, too, with a trance-like quality that hypnotizes you while you give into the groove.

Butler holds his own, though, particularly on the driving “Padova” and the flawlessly gorgeous “Something There”. The band is at their best when they tap into that retro throwback sound, producing flowy earworms like these. Both of these tracks also feature some of the record’s best percussion from drummer John Andrews. His beats push the songs on Plaza forward and give you a feeling that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Complemented by the dreamiest guitars, the drums leave you wanting more and wishing every song on the record could sound so sweet.

There are no real misfires on Plaza. It is a solid record that shows what the band can do, and how far they have come. The foursome sound tighter than they ever have, even as they each shine on their own. Their songs wrap complicated feelings of loneliness, uncertainty and fear into shimmering pop rock bundles that are deeply satisfying.

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