The Quarter After - Changes Near
Chris Dunn 17/11/2008
The Quarter After won a lot of fans with their self titled debut released back in 2005, a wonderful record full of Byrds influenced jangle and West Coast harmonies complete with it's very own epic psychedelic wonder 'Too Much To Think About.' Changes Near steps up to the plate and takes on the baton passed from that impressive debut, mutating into a varied and altogether more interesting record.
It still sounds like The Quarter After but they're flexing their musical muscles, introducing elements into the fray that compliment their ever present focus on melody and traditional song craft. There's the subtle use of tablas, journeys into country with some choice pedal steel, gospel backing on one song and Rob Campanella paints an even brighter picture marking him out as surely one of the most underrated lead guitarists around. This bloke's a fan of John Squire and it's a joy to hear the influence come out to play, check out Turning Away for a brief nod to The Stone Roses B Side The Hardest Thing In The World.
Rob's brother Dominic seems to have grown in confidence as a lead singer as well, striding out with an air of quality and clarity, free of macho posturing and bringing to mind rock bands like Buffalo Springfield where Stills and Young took the songs into a whole other territory. The Quarter After do beautiful music, it seems natural they've got a front man who appreciates the finer points of singing.
The intuitive interplay between the band, evident on their debut and even more so on this follow up, means they elevate themselves above places where other more generic bands might rest. Sanctuary, the album opener, does just that. Thundering into a bass heavy rock and roller, before slipping into the ether with a stoned swirl of piano, slide guitar and falling drums, it picks up the pace again as easily as it was dropped. A piece of almost casual brilliance.
Having proven producer Rob Campanella in the ranks has certainly done no harm either, the Quarter After are a formidable live act and getting that sharpness onto record was obviously a chief aim. The essence of a band in flow comes across and it plays to their strengths well.
Show your support for this band. They've gone quietly about their business but they find themselves up there with the heavyweights of the scene and their next album could be something truly special.