By Jesii Dee
Quilt delivers implacable dreamy pop tunes on their third full length release, Plaza. The east coast natives have refined their sound on these ten tracks, and take up residence in a sweet spot of 70's pop layers, breezy vocals, and over all chill vibes. Vocals are shared among the quartet, with founding members Anna Fox Rochinski and Shane Butler on guitar, Kevin Lareau on bass, and John Andrews on drums.
“Passerby” is a fuzzy dream introduction to the record with a retro sound kicking things off, and Rochinski's vocals taking form over a complex guitar sound. The addition of woodwind instruments gives it an unexpected twist. “Roller” has a cleaner sound, compared to track one, and reminds me of a nice sunny day outside. I'm glad to see this as the second single off the record, as it's one of the strongest tracks on Plaza. “Searching For” is reminiscent of their last record, with the duets and effect heavy vocals for the first time on the album. This song would go well with the sunset as you're driving through the desert.
Lyrically, they are story tellers, with a conversational pattern evident in “O'Connor's Barn,” evident in the lyrics: "Are you looking for an answer? // Are you looking for a cure? // Maybe you should want more" being presented for the listener to process over drum and guitar riffs. “Eliot St” is the first single off the record, and it's easy to see why. It's a clear representation of Quilt's sound and style. Male lead vocals sing out the chorus of "I can’t sleep // I'm thinking all too much // Always shaking hands and never showing up // And I've had no luck." “Hissing My Plea” is a dark love song of sorts, telling the tale of a relationship that just isn't what it used to be. This song's funky bass line provides a colorful background for the track.
“Something There” is another vocal track featuring duets, with a bright melody and a solid guitar-and-bass backing to create variation within the song, taking you from the light and airy to a funkier interlude. With a unique intro, softly called vocals, and a story of lonesome haunting human and town, “Padova” shifts in the latter half to a looped hopeful plea "Maybe we'll meet in Padova" as the song winds down. In “Your Island,” we are back to the effect heavy guitar and retro sounds overall, and yet Rochinski's vocals are bright and clear floating over the top. This song is one of my personal favorites of the record. Quilt closes out the record with a bang, and a slight country twang, with “Own Ways.” I think the 70's sound comes to mind since they have a classic Simon & Garfunkel vibe when Butler takes lead vocals, and one that they execute well. They end the song with a wild instrumental composition that sends them off into the stratosphere quite nicely.
These tracks are best served poolside with a cold beverage of choice and no plans for the day. But don't underestimate their dancability either; the record overall is upbeat and very easy to move to. Catch Quilt here in Phoenix on March 17th at Valley Bar.