Album Review: “Plaza” by Quilt

Quilt has been creating deliciously psychedelic tracks rooted in folk rock for the past several years, over which they’ve released three full lengths. The band name was inspired by the idea of congregation, people, ideas, thoughts, beings coming together like the pieces of a quilt. An interesting recent coincidence lead the band to what became the creation of their third and most recent record, Plaza. In 2014, the band bumped into Matt Arnett who together with his father were responsible for the traveling exhibit of “Quilts of Gee’s Bend”, which was the original inspiration for Quilt’s debut in 2011. Arnett opened up his home to the band and it was here that the first bits of material for Plaza were born.

The concept for Plaza was to signify a “meeting place” and this record was absolutely a collaboration and “meeting place” between family, friends and others (including Arnett) whom the band interacted with during their time on the road. The record opens with “Passersby”, featuring main vocalist and one of the founding members, Anna Fox Rochinski. Her mesmerizing voice blends so flawlessly with the instrumentals, it is almost difficult to pull her voice from the flitting flutes and dizzying guitars.

The tempo picks up and vocalist changes during “Searching For”, a short and sweet more indie rock-oriented track. The sharing of vocals and alternating of main vocalist adds another layer of sonic diversity to Quilt, allowing the listener to get more out of the band.

Along with Plaza signifying a congregation of people and ideas, it also denotes a new sense of togetherness within the band. Given that this is the third record from Quilt, a true understanding of what their music is and what it can be has been reached and  together, the band showcases their higher sense of cohesiveness. On the record are Anna Fox Rochinski and Shane Butler who are the roots of Quilt, John Andrews (drums) and the new bassist Keven Laraeu.

“Eliot St.” is one single released by Quilt in anticipation of the record, a true representation of the new sense of interconnection within the band and a display of what more Quilt has to offer. “Eliot St.” is surely a stand out track on the record. Whereas up to this point on the album, most of the songs are akin to the sounds we heard on Held in Splendor, “Eliot St.” is what we know and love about Quilt plus more. It is outfitted with sliding strings, woozy backup vocals and a fantastic bass-driven line that fortifies this new sound for Quilt. The following track “Hissing My Plea” is another prime example of a new era of sonic exploration for Quilt. On this track, they play with unique rhythms, add a hint of rock and there’s something disco-esque about the role the strings play.

Among my favorites on the record is “Padova.” To me, it shines on this album and it came to me as a surprise on the record. Even though this album is full of surprising new sounds for Quilt, “Padova” brings it to a new level. The gentle pitter patter percussion is what introduces you to the song and carries you through. This rhythm remains familiar and holds strong while the song blossoms and changes, a sense of hopeful yearning the underlying theme.

And true Quilt form, the record closes with “Own Ways”, a fantastic psychedelic wrap up of what Quilt is: an amalgamation of genres, styles, stories, interactions, instruments, humans and lives – much like that of a quilt.

Plaza is out now on Mexican Summer and can be purchased on iTunes and Mexican Summer.

The band will begin touring this June:

JUN 05, 2016 HUNTER, NY MOUNTAIN JAM

JUN 16 – 19, 2016 DOVER, DE FIREFLY MUSIC FESTIVAL

JUN 23, 2016 NEW YORK, NY BOWERY BALLROOM

JUN 24, 2016 BOSTON, MA THE SINCLAIR

JUN 25, 2016 PORTSMOUTH, NH 3S ARTSPACE

JUN 26, 2016 PORTLAND, ME BLUE

JUL 22, 2016 PITTSBURGH, PA CLUB CAFE

JULY 23-24 STERLING HEIGHTS, MI MO POP

JUL 26, 2016 AKRON, OH MUSICA

JUL 27, 2016 ROCHESTER, NY LOVIN’ CUP

AUG. 5-7 SAN FRANCISCO, CA OUTSIDE LANDS MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL

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