Home Read Albums Of The Week: Quicksand | Distant Populations

Albums Of The Week: Quicksand | Distant Populations

The NYC post-punk legends fire on all cylinders on their second comeback disc.

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Distant Populations, just the fourth full-length of Quicksand’s career, comes as a comparatively swift followup to 2017’s Interiors — which itself came a full 22 years after its predecessor, 1995’s Manic Compression. Critically lauded and deemed very much worth the wait, Interiors succeeded in reestablishing the band as the powerful and contemporary entity they had always been. “Our only conscious challenge for that period, really,” says bassist Sergio Vega, “was that we felt like we needed to make a record that was worth waiting that long for.” Its success proved that they met that challenge, and, he adds, “galvanized by that, we felt like we know what we are today. We know what fits in our template. And we can build off that and expand on that.”

Recorded at Studio 4 Recording in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, Distant Populations was produced and engineered by Will Yip (The Menzingers, Code Orange, Defeater), and mixed by Josh Wilbur (Lamb of God, Megadeth, Avenged Sevenfold). Sonically it has a punchier, more up-tempo sound than Interiors, with its 11 songs being concise, carved sonic jewels boasting not a single wasted note. Its gripping lyricism and raw power leap out from the very first listening.

Throughout the album, Quicksand explore the duality of our simultaneous existence in individual relationships and as part of mass society, while also examining the alienation and loneliness of it all. “Everyone is on the one hand so connected with each other, and on the other hand, is so far apart.” says frontman Walter Schreifels. “We’re checking out each other’s social media and we know what everybody’s doing. But when we’re sitting in the same room together, we’re looking at our phones,” he adds point out the sad irony of it all.

Formed in 1990, Quicksand made their full-length debut with Slip — a 1993 release praised as “a nearly flawless record that combines the irony and heaviness of Helmet with Fugazi’s penchant to dismantle sound in the most energetic ways.” Arriving in 1995, their sophomore album Manic Compression garnered rave reviews. Throughout the early ’90s, Quicksand toured with bands like Helmet, Fugazi, Rage Against the Machine and Anthrax. After disbanding in late 1995, they reunited for a one-night performance in June 2012. They’ve since appeared at festivals like FYF Fest and Pukkelpop, and in 2013 embarked on their first North American tour in 15 years. In 2017, the band released their long-awaited third-studio album.”