In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing.
Quicksand is one of those rare acts with an essentially unimpeachable discography: The band released two albums—1993’s Slip and 1995’s Manic Compression—and eventually broke up with little fanfare. But those two albums, which trod similar ground to contemporaries like Helmet and Rage Against The Machine, have held up incredibly well. (The same can’t be said for the band’s videos, which feature the blurry color-washes and/or strobe-light editing endemic to the era.) The band re-formed briefly last year, then rolled out a reunion tour in early 2013; I saw them in Chicago back in January, then again at a post-Riot Fest show in September, and each performance was celebratory dynamite. It goes back to that discography, to a certain degree: With only 20-ish songs to choose from, and none of them duds, fans are basically guaranteed to hear their favorites. Which made choosing one to write about here a little tough, actually, so I’m going with album one, track one, which also happens to be the song Quicksand started their set with at the most recent show: “Fazer.” Though not as immediately accessible as “Dine Alone” or as slick as second-album single “Landmine Spring,” “Fazer” captures everything great about the band: It’s sinister but accessible, angry but imbued with an underlying pop sense so keen it’s a bit surprising the band didn’t hit it bigger. Walter Schreifels’ voice is shouty and rough, but his words always conveyed more complex emotions: “Needing to find something / Is everything okay? / I hope you find a niche, someday soon” reads like Morrissey—Quicksand even covered The Smiths’ “How Soon Is Now” around the time of Slip’s release. There are rumors of new Quicksand music to come—the band demoed a bunch of songs in the mid-’90s that never came out—and I’m apprehensive. It’s been nearly 20 years, and the two albums that stand as the band’s legacy now present a pretty monumental climb. I’m not against it—just cautious.