Monday, October 27, 2008

The Quarter After - Changes Near is Rickenbacker 12 String Heaven!

The Quarter After

Changes Near
The Committee To Keep Music Evil"

Changes Near and my introduction to The Quarter After was a chance suggestion by their record label while researching another band on their label, The Asteroid 4. The Quarter After is quite a lucky find for those of you into The Byrds. These guys have the unmistakable Rickenbacker jingle jangle sound, and much like their main influence, the occasional country influence, but the sound is stronger and bigger. The opening track "Sanctuary" has the obvious full sound of a Rickenbacker 12 string from Vox/guitarist Dominic Campanella, but David Koenig's bass give it a heavier feel. The addition of tablas make it even more psychedelic, but the song just sounds FULL. The sound is thick and loud, and the vocal harmonies add a great finishing touch. "She Revolves" is slightly mellower but carries an equal amount of electric guitar surprises. One of those is that one actually hears all the guitar strings strummed instead of a simple chord, but one can only describe what something sounds like. The Quarter After take their musical ancestry to a bigger place. A country rock track "Counting The Score" is twangy beyond belief but it somehow works with great vocal harmonies and dual guitars. It's a lot more forward thinking than most.

"See How It Feels" is upbeat, full of great feedback, and a basic but strong rhythm section much akin to bands from The Paisley Underground era. Overall, The Quarter After have one foot steeped in the L.A. folk rock scene and the other well planted in the psych/garage revival of The Paisley Underground. However, that's just the beginning. The vocal harmonies are stronger, the guitars are louder and more ambitious, thus giving a stronger garage rock feel, but there are also surprises that echo the pioneering spirit of many other bands that seek to really create something new. Luckily, it works well for The Quarter After. "Early Morning Rider" can only make one think of "Easy Rider," but Rob Campanella's Vox Ultrasonic and then the trumpet throws something new into what at first has that basic background already alluded to. The Quarter After is like that: You get hit with a few surprises on each song that challenge convention or what you might expect. Although a "jam" is tantamount to pure evil for me when it comes to music, the otherwise slow, folksy "Something Out Of Nothing" gives off a battery acid solo that's refreshing and bizarre, although just slightly a little too long. Changes Near just sounds great! The Rickenbacker 12 string is bright and instantly recognizable, but there's a pedal steel thrown in on the slower parts, then the song goes into a marching beat out of nowhere with more surprises to follow.

"A Winter Song" is a deep, slow psych pour with enough tamboura and tablas to make George Harrison proud, but also acoustic guitars, a Hammond and a Mellowtron that could put The Quarter After at home with the good vibes of The Grip Weeds. Another standout track is "This Is How I Want To Know You" that psyches out with the jingle jangle sound, but carries some great vocal harmonies and a beat much like The Bangles and then takes a heavier ending much like The Church second album, The Blurred Crusade. The final song "Sempre Avanti (Johny Marr Is Not Dead)" is self explanatory, but then again, The Quarter After is as much about surprises as they're being built around a 12 string Rickenbacker. Changes Near is a heavy musical venture. It's something to hear and listen to on the edge of folk and psychedelic rock, but the sound is melodic, full, soft, but definitely loud at the same time. If you love Rickenbackers, The Paisley Underground, or both, Changes Near can take you back there, but there's more originality to The Quarter After than meet's the eye.

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