Quicksand have always been an anomaly in their scene. Too sensitive to cut it with Unsane and The Jesus Lizard, and too shreddy for comparisons to Braid and The Promise Ring, their self-titled EP and 1993’s seminal ‘Slip’ offer a unique songwriting approach among a sea of increasingly formulaic vessels in a post-Nirvana tidal surge.
Perhaps this reverence is what has made the announcement of comeback album ‘Interiors’ a more crucial talking point than any other project frontman Walter Schreifels has resurrected this decade (unless you regularly jam Rival Schools’ ‘Found’, which you obviously don’t). Perhaps having a now full-time Deftones member in the band has also gained the interest of people who had never heard them before.
Approaching 50 years of age, Schreifels’ songwriting gains grace and patience, which prefers adopting atmospheric passages over sections of pure discordance. Opener ‘Illuminant’ takes it’s time to meander through sets of Pelican-reminiscent riffs before dipping its feet into a tranquil mid-section. This doesn’t make ‘Interiors’ a mellow album by any stretch. Producer Will Yip (Title Fight, Tigers Jaw) works enough muscle into tracks like ‘Under the Screw’ (which opens with a thrash metal drum fill) and the pacey ‘Fire This Time’ to give Schreifels’ and Tom Capone’s layerings of distortion some real impact.
Despite these moments of grungy brilliance, Quicksand’s tendency to let themselves drift off into an endless abyss outweighs the good. The title track and ‘Hyperion’ are overly-linear in their approach, like travelling a straight road with no destination. And while Walter’s sincerity shines through his performance, it offers little reward for anyone looking for more substance in their prog-metal-in-training passages.
To their benefit, Quicksand absolutely refuse to mould their sound into anything that could compact them into any scene on ‘Interiors’, and despite it’s stripped back song structures, it’s creators throw themselves fully into their art and make it instantly recognisable. But longtime fans who have actively awaited a new album could be forgiven for hoping for more from this collective, before they likely move on to other multiple projects between them.
‘Interiors’ by Quicksand is out now on Epitaph Records.
Words by Andy Davidson (@AndyrfDavidson)