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WPGM Recommends: Quiet Quiet Band – Come Home From The War (EP Review)

Quiet Quiet Band are widely interpreted as a nu-folk group.

“Pleasures of the flesh, pleasures in a bottle and pleasures of losing your mind…our songs often evoke fictional characters who are reflecting on their own flaws, regrets, losses and mistakes,” adds lead vocalist Tom Purcell.

The other band members are Paul Smith (guitar/vocals), Scott Painter (bass), Jon Hare-Winton (drums) and Devon Gillespie (viola).

QQB debuted with 2015’s album, Low Noon, which was lauded widely. Now they’ve kept in step with EP, Come Home From The War, released on Friday, November 4.

“In The Body” evokes lads coming back from a campaign in Afghanistan. It has a rambling quality to it, though soldiers are such expert hikers that this long trek home is more akin to a stroll in the park, especially with previous never ending bouts pounding the sands of massive deserts in faraway lands. The bass climbs in jazzy fashion, as intermittent licks of guitar drop in and out. Then the vocals rise to impassioned heights, not perfectly formed but human and real. Real like suffering, hopeful like redemption.

Drinkers’ number, “Rum”, maybe has said soldiers turning to the drink, sprawling minds probably struggling with post-traumatic stress. This one has a sea shanty vibe to it, its calming vibes like the sway of the seas. The ocean, however, roughs up, right in tandem with lively instrumentation lead by the crashing of drum. Dynamics see the band stripped back to driving bass and drums, gradually building to crescendo. “I’ll be alright if you’ll buy me a drink”, lyric wise, is also one of the track’s most succinct lines.

“Soldier” is the first direct reference to the name of the EP, Come Home From The War. This one’s moody and searching: “I know, I know/Sometimes I do not know”. The mournful airs of viola lend proceedings a certain graveness and emotional depth. Backing vocals add an extra dimension to that mournful feeling.

The rather odd “Tony Robinson” makes for some disturbing listening. Then it gets impassioned yet loses its seriousness, and that’s before the reggae vibes kick in. Then a folky bounce emerges. It comes together in quite a grand package. Dynamics then see the bass alone in this folky bounce, adjoined with hi-hat and licks of guitar. Shouting vocals and drum herald an abrupt end to the EP.

Looking over this four track effort, the first three, a whopping three quarters of the overall output, are particularly memorable. These, of course, are “In The Body”, “Rum” and “Soldier”. Yes, with the first two you’ve got to assume the narrative based on the EP title; however, it seems it’s no great stretch of the imagination to do so.

“In The Body” has a rambling man’s guitar quality to it, like the opening scene of the soldiers coming home from tour in Scottish film, Sunshine On Leith. There’s a certain joy in it, and maybe the track title is in reference to being grounded and within oneself. The mental torture, however only around the corner, is a far off, though, for these lads who’ve come home from the war.

This narrative continues in “Rum”. They’ve had their festivities and now they’re morose and depressed. In fact, it’s the mix of booze and the fallout from participating in armed conflict. The song’s rough shanty is symbolic of the hailstorm within these guys’ minds, propping up the bar in their local and getting progressively more out of their heads, and not just in the typical drunk’s way.

You know this unfolding story to be feasibly true when the title for the ensuing track crops up. “Soldier”, with features like the mournful viola, highlight perhaps the great sadness within the mind of someone adjusting to civilian life. Am I a paid murderer? What do I contribute to society? Where do I fit in once I come home from the war? Perhaps the military’ll blank me if I require psychiatry?

You could somewhat draw satisfying parallels between the concept in this EP to that album executed by The Jam in 1979, Setting Sons. This, of course, was based loosely round the concept of three boyhood friends who reunite after serving in the armed forces, then grow apart.

Quiet Quiet Band really have driven home, it seems, the message within the title of said EP. Though one quarter of the EP, the closer, appears to bare little affinity to the rest of the overall piece, it’s still only a minor stroke from hand on heart greatness. Quiet Quiet Band’s Come Home From The War EP can be purchased, here.

Also visit their Bandcamp, Twitter, Facebook and website pages to keep tabs on Quiet Quiet Band.

Words by Andrew Watson

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