382

Quack Quack: Slow As An Eyeball

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Quack Quack: Slow As An Eyeball Good grief, Slow As An Eyeball is fun. Not fun as in "quite enjoyable" or "this might bring a smile to the face," but fun as in Fun. The sort of immediate, raw and inescapable joy that leaps out of the speakers to demand smiles, dance action and increased volume all at the same time. The trio of musicians who form Quack Quack—based in Leeds in the northern English county of Yorkshire—inhabit a musical world on the fringes of jazz, techno, dance and even progressive rock, creating atmospheric and downright catchy tunes with a refreshing lack of pretension. As the cheap '70s record label had it, this is "Music For Pleasure."

"Perpetual Spinach" sounds a little like the Americana style of Calexico—there's even some lap steel guitar from Richard Formby—until the entry of Richard Morris' simple keyboard line. The sound of jazz originals like Sun Ra, and the gloriously eccentric electronica of '60s visionary Joe Meek break through as multiple rhythms create a rich, welcoming ambience.

"Toc H" is a medium tempo tune with a simple and straightforward structure and is perhaps most typical of the Quack Quack approach. Much of the tune is underpinned by a pedal electronic drone over which Stuart Bannister adds a funky, repetitive bass to take charge of the rhythm. On top sits Neil Turpin's light and vibrant drumming and Morris' stabbing keyboard—which is, itself, replaced occasionally by a denser, lower register keyboard sound that adds just a hint of menace. This thoughtful, multilayered approach is repeated consistently across the album's ten tracks, ensuring that their immediacy doesn't become tired as repeated listening can uncover new sounds and ideas.

Towards the middle of the album—most notably on "Phonehenge"—the pace drops, repetition comes over too strongly and the vibrancy of the music suffers. But the quality soon recovers when, half way through "Big Sounds," Morris enters with a beautiful rolling keyboard riff. The album closes with three of its strongest tunes. "Bird Parliament" has a slinky central keyboard riff while its structural approach suggests a strong jazz influence. The band's jazz credentials are stated clearly when Polar Bear's Seb Rochford and Pete Wareham guest on drums and tenor sax respectively on "As Slow as an Eyeball," while Wareham adds some heavy tenor riffs to the splendidly cheery and upbeat closer, "Jack of None."

Slow As An Eyeball took three years to record, but the cohesiveness and consistency of the tunes sound like they were created in a much shorter period. Quack Quack brings a welcome freshness to the fringes of jazz, with a sharp reminder that technical complexity is not the only goal. Oh—and it's fun.

Track Listing: Perpetual Spinach; D Motherfucker D; Three; Toc H; Phonehenge; Big Sounds; Cakes Are Easy; Bird Parliament; As Slow as an Eyeball; Jack of None.

Personnel: Stuart Bannister: bass; Richard Morris: keyboards; Neil Turpin: drums; Richard Formby: lap steel guitar (1), oscillator (4, 10); Sebastian Rochford: additional drums (9); Pete Wareham: saxophone (9, 10).

Title: Slow As An Eyeball | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Cuckundoo Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Apprentice" CD/LP/Track Review Apprentice
by Alex Franquelli
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "Unlimited 1, Live at Catalina's" CD/LP/Track Review Unlimited 1, Live at Catalina's
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 22, 2016
Read "What's Wrong" CD/LP/Track Review What's Wrong
by John Sharpe
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "Play Date" CD/LP/Track Review Play Date
by James Nadal
Published: October 27, 2016
Read "Faces" CD/LP/Track Review Faces
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 30, 2017
Read "What Doesn’t Kill You" CD/LP/Track Review What Doesn’t Kill You
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 16, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.