Former Jesus Lizard vocalist David Yow lends his lunatic howls to Qui's sophomore outing.
Love's Miracle is Qui's second album, but few people care about their first. The reason music fans care about the band now is that, in 2006, former Jesus Lizard frontman David Yow climbed on board, adding tons of clout and some vocal mayhem to a band that was little more than an obscure guitar-and-drums duo. On Love's Miracle, Qui step into the spotlight as a next-gen take on the Lizard's lean, mean rhythms and guitar excoriations. When the group hits their stride ("Gash" and "Freeze"), their noisy post-post-punk excursions sound quite a bit like Yow's former band, circa 1991 (but minus the pummeling bass grooves of David Wm. Sims). Duane Denison is an incomparable guitarist, though, and Qui's Matt Cronk doesn't have the same depth of chops. Still, he plays some fiendishly tight and twisting figures and also knows how to get his axe to sound like a buzzsaw. Paul Christensen is impressive behind the drum set, equally able to keep a slow-yet-thunderous beat and recklessly pound his ride cymbal into submission.
Looking even further back than the alternative '90s, Qui come up with two crazy covers that work surprisingly well: Frank Zappa's blues-rockin' "Willie the Pimp" and Pink Floyd's melancholic and spacey "Echoes". As on album opener "Apartment", Christensen lends his considerably mellower vocals to the Floyd tune, presumably leaving Yow free to grab another beer and pace menacingly around the stage. It's good to have him back in the music world. Qui can't match the Jesus Lizard at their peak, but those days are long gone now. We will gladly accept this next best thing.