Quade sculpt tense atmospheres on ‘Spiral I & II’

Bristol’s hotly tipped experimentalists Quade have returned with a luscious yet foreboding pair of tracks, ‘Spiral I & II’. Following up from the attention garnered by debut track ‘The Balance’, this exploratory offering delves into the broad range of sonic influences the band draw upon from Irish folk to warped field recordings, culminating in a piece for the listener to truly lose themself in.

Drawing inspiration from Italo Calvino’s short story ‘The Spiral’, singer/bassist Barney Matthews’ paints surrealist landscapes in his lyrics, tying human experience to natural imagery and abstracting it in ways to distort meaning. These murmured words glide beneath strangled strings and flutters of delicate percussion throughout the first section of the song, before they are all washed out and swaddled in warm synths as it seamlessly links to the brooding second half. As the bass and drums trudge along, the sound progressively grows into something more sinister, almost showcasing the light and dark of the band. The timbres displayed show how aware each member is of their instrument’s capacity, switching between bowed and plucked fiddle or brushed drums transitioning into a thumped groove. It’s easy to say something has an ethereal quality, but this composition does at points feel as though it has the power to transport you to another place.

With a sound that sits somewhere between contemporaries from their local scene such as Squid and Tara Clerkin Trio, or older influences such as Tortoise and The For Carnation, it’s clear that the band are already toying with some heady sounds despite only forming during lockdown. There’s technique tension on show that many seasoned acts would avoid, but Quade are unafraid to explore these territories, and this eleven minute salvo proves they’re onto something extraordinary.

Words: Reuben Cross // Photo: Caleb Smith

‘Spiral I & II’ is out now. Stream and purchase the track via Bandcamp.

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