THE QP - Intro

THE QP - Intro
The QP Records QPCD0801

Intro is the debut album from an exciting new band, and also the title of the opening track which (as they readily own) slots together five fairly disparate pieces to form their musical calling-card. On both counts it succeeds! The QP (originally named The Quarter Pounders) came together in 2006 for Warwick Folk Festival, at the suggestion of its Director (Dick Dixon) on the strength of hearing young Will Pound playing harmonica. Indeed, what a fine musician Will is – though his cohorts are no less brilliant, judging by the sound they make together on this record.

The instrumental complement is imaginative and unusual for a young folk band – no fiddle for a start! – and comprises Matt Crum (melodeon, soprano sax, keys), Laurel McIntosh (flute), Dan Bones (guitar, bass), Susie Bones (vocals, whistle) and Joe Crum (drums). So maybe their choice of tunes isn’t always massively original, but they do make a persuasive and irresistible case for hearing Speed The Plough and Jolly Beggarman again (check out the crack bluesy harmonica solo on the latter), and their slightly bizarre arrangements of Catharsis, Swallowtail Reel and Dance Of Delight are jolly good infectious fun. The remaining tunes on the disc include a French-Canadian set and a handful of spunky own-compositions, while the vocal items also show promise, especially Susie’s treatment of the anti-war song Bonny Bonny (although the tempo may seem a little at odds on first acquaintance). On the disc generally, the heavy-duty drive of the rhythm section (with grinding electric guitar and busy, rocking kit) is a notable and prominent feature, though the lads can rein it in and take a backseat when needed too – and yet the insistence of the pulse never gets in the way of you hearing the other instruments that are playing. In fact, in their honourable attempt to ensure an extreme clarity of texture at all times, album producers Matt and Dan have probably over-compensated in the end, rendering the treble end of the spectrum over-brilliant generally and the drum sound occasionally a tad thin. But these are minor technical issues when set against the sheer verve, energy and commitment that leaps out of the band members in performance, and their tremendous sense of presence comes across even on CD. This is an extremely creditable self-production, and a convincing stab at rejuvenating the tired cliché of folk-rock by retaining the maverick indie spirit that kick-started the sub-genre in the first place.

David Kidman
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This album was reviewed in Issue 82 of The Living Tradition magazine.