Music Review

Quiet Company's New EP is Brimming with Expressive Ballads

Taylor Muse's distinctive vocals lead the charge in the Austin group's latest EP It’s Not Attractive and It Changes Nothing.

By Bryce Dodds April 5, 2017

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Image: Quiet Company

for nearly two decades, Quiet Company has made their mark in the music industry thanks to acclaimed records and near-incessant touring. With their new EP, It’s Not Attractive and It Changes Nothing, their first release since Transgressor in 2015, it's easy to see why Quiet Company continues to be one of the best bands in Texas.

The Austin-based indie rock group, who return to Houston on April 22 to perform at The Secret Group, demonstrate their tonal and stylistic variations on the new EP. The opening number, “Celebrity Teeth Poacher,” is vintage Quiet Company thanks to thoughtful lyrics over intimate music that draws you in with a ballad-like opening, then the chorus brings out the punch with popping drums, catchy riffs on the guitar and the vocal prowess of frontman Taylor Muse. A big turn occurs at the bridge, bringing all the instruments together as Muse sings, “I held the hands of angels and the devil alike and I never needed more than what I had.” This will become a staple of the band's effervescent live shows, and a great one at that.

“Get Beside Me Satan!” sounds like a continuation of Transgressor in the best way, as it opens with a fuzzy, driving guitar riff over thundering drums and the distorted vocals of Muse. The track highlights the complete skill sets of the band in a rocking number that always feels like it’s pushing the pace, until it doesn’t. A quick downward shift in tempo and tone in the middle of the song doesn’t feel out of place. In fact, it’s a hallmark of some of the best Quiet Company classics. Soft piano and reverberating guitar offer a reprieve from the fast pace of the song opener, with layered, harmonizing vocals rounding out an effective change of speeds. It isn’t long before they kick it back up with a return to the chorus. This is the most danceable and rocking song the band has ever written.

Rounding out It’s Not Attractive is “On Single Moms,” a song that would fit seamlessly with their intimate six-song EP from 2010, Songs for Staying In. A heavy focus on the lyricism and vocals of Muse is accented wonderfully by some stirring horns, evoking some of Quiet Company’s older works. “All I know is you don’t scare me at all,” croons Muse in this deeply personal song.

“I think ‘On Single Moms’ is my favorite to listen to,” Muse says. “It is the first song I've written about a lady that wasn't my ex-wife, so there was something refreshing about that, like, ‘Hey, maybe I can still do this.'"

And just like that, the three-song EP is over. But despite its short length, Muse says the band is working on new music to be released in the near future.

“We're hoping to record the next EP in May and release in June or July, which is probably more ambitious than is safe to be,” says Muse. “But that is where all my focus has been—getting the band ready to record and getting the songs worked out.”

Muse made the decision to work on a series of EPs instead of a full-length record due to the nature of how fans listen to music now.

“We had a lot of conversations about the way people consume music these days. As much as it pains me to say it, I think people who appreciate and prefer the idea of an album are a dying breed,” Muse says. “I am one of them.  Personally, I don't like the idea of just putting out a bunch of small things in lieu of one big thing, but there are some really cool aspects to it. The need for constant content seems to be driving creative industries these days, and putting out several EPs allows us to pop up in our fans lives a few times in a year, as opposed to just once.”

Hear Quiet Company in Houston on April 22 at 8. $12–15. The Secret Group, 2101 Polk St. 832-898-4688. 

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