Something has stirred in the darker, lesser-trodden extremities of the UK folk scene. Following 2015’s raucously received (and performed) album ‘Low Noon’, that most carnivalesque quintet, Quiet Quiet Band, have re-emerged into the cold glare. The band’s new EP, ‘Come Home From The War’, released later this year, is a four-song rumination on the aftermath of conflict and, more pertinently, the ways in which humans seek to escape from it. As QQB guitarist Paul Smith puts it: “With society defined by global and personal battles, so many of our pleasures have become tactics for retreat. Pleasures of the flesh, pleasures in a bottle and pleasures of losing your mind inspired this record.”
A deliciously lilting country-swing played with a masterfully light touch, ‘In The Body’ voyages on a sashaying groove of woody bass and shuffling brushes, while violas flurry and electric guitars flare. As the song expands to the finger-clicking bluesy earworm of a chorus, singer Tom’s lyrics take on an ever-more corporeal bent, developing into an all-out love song to what nature gave us. He explains: “‘In The Body’ is an ode to the strange flesh-carriages we ride around in. Be yours an object of lust or disgust, perfect or defective, this weird machine demonstrates your existence. Use it, abuse it, cherish it.” And while we’re on the subject of cherishing, that’s the only sensible course of action to take to Quiet Quiet Band’s strangely sensual new release.
“A sonnet to my lifelong love affair with the hard stuff. A big red Valentine’s heart made up of the broken blood vessels on my cheeks.” Paul Smith-Jones, Quiet Quiet Band
One for the pantheon of great drinking songs, ‘Rum’, like the best of ‘em, strikes a tone that sways unsteadily between the celebratory and the cautionary. From its funereal acapella intro lamenting the deleterious effects of the bottle, ‘Rum’ staggers onwards via an appropriately woozy waltz – as windswept, wild, robust and exciting as you’d expect from a Quiet Quiet Band release – encountering Satan himself before hitting on a mood of stoic yet joyous resignation: “But I’d be all right… if I just had a drink”. A tragi-comic climax to an alcoholic’s ballad this line may be, but it forms part of a chorus so goddamn catchy it is sure to accompany raised glasses and pub singalongs at boozy gatherings from here ever after.