EP Review : Quick and the Dead - For The Rhythm

Quick And The Dead are a pop punk-tinged emo quartet from Jersey, the Channel Islands. Yeah I know, there are far too many bands matching this description (the ‘pop punk-tinged emo’ tag, not the bit about them being from the Channel Islands – no one is from the Channel Islands. Interestingly enough though, my mother is actually from the Channel Islands…). Perhaps it is the fault of the music journalism biz for, A, trying to pigeonhole every band that comes along, and, B, not creating enough pigeonholes. But alas, separating bands by their sub genres and their influences is just part and parcel of music writing. And Quick And The Dead display both the traits of a pop punk band as well as those normally associated with emo.

So, does the UK (I say the UK, but it’s worth noting that Jersey isn’t actually part of the UK – rather, it is a British Crown Dependency) need another pop punk-tinged emo band? We do have quite a few bopping about the charts (Kids In Glass Houses, You Me At Six etc.), and there are certainly more and more popping up on the underground touring circuits. The short answer is that although we may not need another band of this sort, Quick And The Dead sound so damn good, and have just enough edge (just!), that they may just be able to cut themselves out a place in the charts. The reason they sound so damn good is down to a fine mixture of decent production – handled by Jason Wilcock (Fightstar, You Me At Six) – and enduring practice: the members spent four years together as a different band prior to Quick And The Dead called Marvel.

For The Rhythm’ is the name of their new EP, and it is a blistering collection of skilfully structured emo tunes. Opener ‘Get Scared?’ sets the pace with a wicked riff and galloping drums before slipping into a dance-rock vibe for the verse. That dance-rock element is fleshed out a bit towards the end using some electronic burps and mild synths, and together with the vocal repetition of the end section, it winds up sounding a little like The Automatic (at their up-tempo best). They follow this up with the weakest track on offer, the radio-friendly indie-pop of ‘Sparks,’ which, despite containing a memorable hook, winds up sounding as flat as The Wombats.
However, after this dip in style and substance, the EP gets back on track. 'Carry On Reaper’ kicks off with a hefty riff and continues with some sharp guitar parts and the EP’s strongest melody – the immediacy of the clean vocals and ‘whoa-ohs’ of the chorus are very, very (very!) reminiscent of Kids In Glass Houses. ‘Savaged’ – filled with stabbing riffs that partner agreeably with the urgent vocals – continues with the same force. The closing title track, which just has so many components to admire, is the best of the bunch. There’s the building, epic nature of the song structure, the fuzzy effects of the huge bass line (perhaps influenced by the bass line of Taking Back Sunday’s Carpathia’), and, particularly nearing the end, the yelps and gang vocals of heavier, post-hardcore bands like Funeral For A Friend. Absolutely thrilling.

This is music made to be danced to and moshed at. Huge pop melodies thickened with perfectly pitched harmonies designed for mass sing-a-longs are expertly matched up with intricate riffs destined to provoke bouncing and/or headbanging. It maybe nothing new for the UK alternative scene (even though it may sound fresh over on the Channel Islands), but ‘For The Rhythm’ is just so, so, so catchy, and Quick And The Dead just sound so, so, so tight, that this release is hard to overlook.

It’s out now on Hairy Wolf Records. Go get it.

Quick and the Dead - For The Rhythm by Music Liberation