Friday, August 13, 2004

Water softly running running running...

Q & Not U - Wonderful People - I've always been a fan of Q & Not U - not a huge fan, but they were always a fun band live, and "9 Things Everybody Knows" is still one of my favorite songs. But they always tended to shine when they slowed things down. The more energy they tried to exude, the more they often came off as faking it.. Then, last year, they released a single, entitled X-Polynation. X-Polynation was way ahead of anything they'd done before. Sounding like Fugazi covering '77 era Talking Heads, X-Polynation offered a tantalizing hint of their new album, Power. And now, Power has leaked. And damn if X-Polynation wasn't only a hint of what was to come. With Wonderful People, Q & Not U open the album with a statement. They done gone disco. The classic DC drums and skittering minor chords are there, but this time with some well defined downbeats and a rapturesque falsetto. Talking Heads, seem, to me, to have been an overlookeed touchstone in much of this recent revivalism - critics love to use it, but very few bands (with the exception of the occasional Radio 4 song) seem to have taken the lessons of Byrne and company to heart. Most certainly not Franz Ferdinand (But then, when was NME ever right with a comparison...) When the gang vocals kick in, it's clear this is still the same Q & Not U. They just want you to dance while you're rioting nowadays.

Q & Not U - Wet Work - Wet Work though, screams single. with a groovy bassline, stabs of organ, vocals right out of the Mackeye toolkit, and not so much of that damned trendy Falsetto - which i know Q¬U have had for years, but it's still trendy now. When, about 2/3rds into the song, the "congas and shakers and shit" to steal someones description of Radio 4 kick in, you know it's on. This is the album that Stealing of a Nation should have been. Outraged, beautiful, dancy as hell, and innovative in all the right places.

[Power is due out in September from Dischord Records. Buy it!]


At 8/13/2004 11:29:00 AM, Blogger kathryn said...

thank you, keith! these songs are excellent.

funnily enough, when i first heard the guitar line during the verses of franz ferdinand's "tell her tonight" i thought of q and not u, especially after a friend commented that the vocals have a "high-pitched manic Harris Klahr quality"; we then discussed how a franz ferdinand / q and not u show would probably cause both of our brains to explode from the sheer dance-party-ness.


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