Quin Galavis
My Life in Steel and Concrete [2xLP; Super Secret]

Quin Galavis sounds a lot like a clean-singing Black Francis when he’s mellow, and that’s about one of the only comparisons I’m going to manage because My Life in Steel and Concrete isn’t like many other records in my submissions pile (and not even too many in my thousands-deep collection). Taking the double-LP format to deliciously experimental ends, Galavis endows his solo jams with more nooks and crannies than Roseanne Barr’s ass (sorry I stole that from a Mad Magazine I read in the 80s; I’ve no shame), mercilessly throttling the punk format until his jams barely even resemble the genre anymore. I feel like this dude’s a punk at heart, though, and I’m going to stick with that especially because Super Secret is Austin’s prime hotbed for post-Jay Reatard slabs of the stuff. But when did punk get so vicious, so calculating? Did that start with Unsane playing the Warped Tour? Lord that would explain a lot, but it’s not simple as that, if my instincts are correct. Take a track like “A Disturbing Face.” Within this track Galavis has flipped the template of indie/punk/etc. entirely, leaning on sliding strings and offering a slab of minor-key brilliance that is as haunting as it is unexpected considering his burly man-screams earlier on in the album. “Vile and Disgusting” is slightly less effective, yet it twists into a pert, proper mind-fuck of a mid-tempo track, Galavis lashing out without yelling or even emoting too obviously. “Hands of Death” marks a third-straight downtrodden dish, and I’m wondering if this guy’s going to let his opus, his masterpiece, die in the dredges of disappointment and unquenched desire. It’s happened to the best of us, but “Hands” eventually unfolds like a delicate flower, a memorable guitar interlude saving verses that lack distinction. Fast-forward to “Evermore” on Side C and you’ve got another vaguely Frank Black-ish dirge that builds and builds and builds and… goes nowhere, fast. What’s the deal, Galavis? And I get my answer with “Turn You In,” an aggressive, angry track that reinstates the testosterone-chugging energy of the first few cuts while heading in a more rootless, experimental direction that breathes new life into the long psychological journey that is My Life in Steel and Concrete. And the crescendo, buzzing with life and expectation, this time leads to a more satisfying end, even if it also technically goes nowhere. But that’s what “Hate” is for, folks. This evil, pudd-pounding, post-Quttinirpaaq (look them up, bad-ass) nightmare ups the stakes even more, to the point where the follow-up track “Be Patient” is more of a chance to catch one’s breath than anything. I can’t possibly tell you more about this record that you don’t already suspect in your treacherous little heart; Galavis ain’t for everyone, and that’s a compliment. Quite a symphony of modern rock, to be sure, one that gets clunky at times without losing its overall luster. All emotional purges should be so enjoyable for the rest of us…

Links: Super Secret


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