Saturday, July 20

Sound Bite: The Quiet

With all of the twee pop and slow-as-molasses indie music clogging the music industry, it’s a breath of fresh air to hear a rock band unafraid to see if there’s a little mileage left in a good guitar riff and straight-forward songwriting.

L.A. foursome The Quiet are just the kind of band whose traditional sound can slowly sneak up on you, and the band’s newest album is a refreshing burst of melodic rock music for driving down the 101 with the windows down, the ocean air rushing past.

While it is billed as a piano-pop band in the vein of Ben Folds, The Quiet plays a brand of rock and roll that has a lot more power behind it and feels like it has a lot more longevity than the gimmickry and playful music Folds has offered over his career. Counting guitarist and UCLA alumnus Matt Ferrone as a member, The Quiet are built to last, and sophomore effort “Let It Fall” is a good of piece of evidence that Los Angeles’ music scene can offer something more substantial than your typical indie-flavor-of-the-month buzz bands.

“Let it Fall” opens with one of the most satisfying grooves I’ve heard from a guitar on any album from 2010, announcing the band’s intent to both rock but take things slow and trust their own intuition.

It takes a lot of confidence to include a lengthy marimba solo on a song like the playful romp of “Girl Like You” ““ if that doesn’t show these guys have guts, then I don’t know what does.

And guts are important for an up-and-coming band like The Quiet. By challenging itself and its audience alike, the band emerges far more interesting.

“Let It Fall” is all the better for its risk-taking, but the most endearing quality the album has is its strong roots in tradition. The title-track “Let It Fall” follows the same slow-building formula of The Beatles’ “Let It Be,” beginning with a solo piano and ending with the gospel-induced ecstasy of the repeated refrain, “Just let it fall, let it all fall down on me.” The song even ends with some appropriate “na-na-nas” to complete the tip-of-the-hat to Paul McCartney.

Album highlight “One More Chance” is only a “jump-back-Jack” away from being an homage to Bruce Springsteen’s “Thundercrack,” complete with E Street Band swagger and the anthemic sing-along quality of The Boss’ best songs.

Aside from these highlights, the album isn’t free of flaws. “Just The Same” is cluttered and meanders as a track. Certainly they could have found a better home for that incredible bass-line? It’s completely wasted on a song that falls flat only moments into its inception.

I had my hopes up for something special with a song having a title as awesome as “The Beauty in Sadness,” but alas, there were no revelations to be found.

As “Let It Fall” began with a fantastic guitar groove, the album’s closing number, “At Your Side,” features a searing guitar-solo that contrasts beautifully with the soulful backing vocals. The record comes to a close in just under 42 minutes ““ a perfect length for any album. The Quiet say what they need to say, and they never overstay their welcome.

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