I have been hungry for a long time. Dying of hunger. The type of hunger that has been blinding and so painful that I thought I might go deaf. I wanted a new course on my barren plate. The same old shit that was passing before me made the nausea of emptiness almost blissful. And under the hot summer sun, in Washington DC I heard what my ears, feet and soul were searching for. Q and Not U, whether they like it or not are here to save DC from a long draught. With the Most Secret Method on hiatus, the new Dusters CD miles and miles of in the distance, and Chad Clark forever hold up in the studio with his beautiful new music coupled with all the amazing new young bands breaking up left and right in this town, Q and Not U has come to kick down the walls, collapse the floor and torch the basement to hell with their energetic rock.
A self-described punk band, I can’t think of any other term that endears this band more. The music of Q and Not U, while highly influenced by years and years of many great bands bread from the concrete fields of DC has all the right ingredients for rock. Sustains held out just right to bring songs together. “Fever Sleeves” is a mesh of many schizophrenic parts, brought together in a beautiful cohesion with guitar bridges and drum solo pops. The band interprets the crossing from verse to chorus differently with in this song. The hyperactive vocals of Chris Richards are soothing. His young and up beat voice is delivered with a fire that many of his contemporaries lack oh so much. The beautiful Ying however comes with the darkened Yang when Harris Khlar opens up. His edgy and scary vocals are the most punk rock fucking thing I have heard since Dez Caden era Black Flag. “Lil Sparky” is where Khlar takes his center stage position to its greatest height. Sung, screamed and yelled all at once, Khlar means business and commands attention with his powerful delivery. In all the years of listening to punk rock I would give Khlar the award for most powerful delivery.
The band isn’t all burning rock tricks though. It is perhaps there two slow jams where they shine the most. A re-working of “A Kiss Distinctly American” from this year’s Hot and Informed seven inch shows tremendous growth in this band. The opening drum intro is not only brilliant but also poignant. The execution of timing is the key to this slow rocker that only gets eerier as the guitars separate and battle until a full on fistfight of strokes take place at the end. John Davis is the foundation of the rock and here he gets to do a little experimenting of his own. The album’s ending track “Sleeping the Terror Code” opens with a brilliant jazz like bass run by Matt Borlick and breaks into a soothing slow tempo sleep. After beating you into submission, it is here that Q and Not U puts you down for good. You will not come back from this one. Survival is not an option. It’s lights out from here on in.
While many journalist will lump this rock into either a very undeserved “emo” category or try again to regulate a “DC sound.” Q and Not U far exceeds the easy limitations these stupid labels require. A simple word can not capture the raw energy, excitement and power that this band has elegantly displayed on this their first full length. From a city with a long history of some of the most creative music ever made any band has their hands cut out for them. Q and Not U have instead taken the foundation and cut it up into a million tiny pieces and thrown it all the fuck around the stage, rocked out then little the scraps on fire, laughing and enjoying it the whole time. This is the real deal, the place that many have built a foundation to create. This is the future of punk rock music. Everything else is just bullshit.