By Mike Shanley
The members of Quilt have done their homework with regard to the touchstones of ’60s psych folk: a 12-string guitar chimes in a few places; they harmonize tightly a la the Byrds on a regular basis; and a languid quality pervades their sophomore release, even on the faster tracks. The thing is, the trio doesn’t merely replicate the musical template. Their songs have a tendency to head off into different ideas once the verse-chorus pattern has been established. In the end, they use classic sounds to accent their music rather than let that formula dictate the direction that the songs would take. Of course when an album’s opening song has a lyric like “All my heavy hearts are simply illusory,” it’s clear that Quilt is a little too deep to simply be a throwback band.
Anna Fox Rochinski’s crisp, sweet soprano sings lead on a few tracks, with Shane Butler’s reedy voice leading on others. But more often they’re blending with drummer John Andrews to make their own wall of sound. Together they give even more of a lift to the twangy riff of “Mary Mountain” or the four-on-the-floor stomp that opens “Tired and Buttered.” The album ends on a grand scale with “I Sleep in Nature.” It starts as a slow power-chord waltz, complete with strings and a sea of Quilt voices, all of which would make David Roback turn green with envy. But Quilt isn’t the type to end on one-chord bliss. True to form, they switch into a 4/4 bounce after a couple verses. A Farfisa (or a reasonable facsimile) adds beautiful accents before it becomes front and center when the tempo downshifts yet again. For a moment or two here, Quilt sounds like a lost Pretty Things track, but as mentioned earlier, this is really their own unique creation. And it needs to be heard right now.
DOWNLOAD: “Mary Mountain,” “A Mirror.”