Gods and Devils
Chapel Hill’s Shark Quest is one of the few current instrumental rock outfits that consistently opt for driving, emphatic rhythms and discernable melodies over post-rock ambience and dissonance. Originally conceived as a soundtrack for an independent claymation film, Gods and Devils manages to capture a range of moods without delving too deeply into rote “mood” music. The exquisite jig-like opener, “The Rosetta Barrage,” touches on mandolin/guitar interplay, arctic surf guitar and proto-funk. “Sin the Moon” has melancholy central finger-plucked guitar arrangements that are equally informed by John Fahey and The Eagles. “Three Ivy Leaves” is the best piece of minor-key-autumnal-pop-turned-middle-eastern-raga I’ve ever heard. “Shivers” begins as an aching ode to traditional British folk before bottoming out into a Hammond-filled Fleetwood Mac groove, etc… You get the idea.
Like the culmination of a more focused Japancakes and a less taciturn Tortoise, Shark Quest still manages to span music genres largely untouched by their contemporaries. Let’s hope it’s not three more years before their next one.
Merge Records: www.mergerecords.com