Q & Not U Power

[Dischord; 2004]

Styles:  post-hardcore
Others: Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Fugazi

If you gave me a description of Q & Not U's new album, Power, you'd be treated to a tirade on the marketing of nostalgia, how dance-punk loving hipsters make me sick, and best of all, my genius opinion on how to use a synthesizer properly. Fortunately, I hadn't heard any descriptions before I got the chance to hear it. Though, as soon as John Davis' sugary falsetto kicked in on "Wonderful People" over a disco beat, I could feel a rant building, that is, until I began to like it.

After the shock of enjoying "Wonderful People" despite my best intentions to hate it, I was treated to 12 more tracks drawing from the same well of inspiration. While Q & Not U haven't invented a new form of music, it's unfair to say they simply draw on what came before; rather it is a dialogue with the past. They know it's there; they take as much as they need from it, but then add so much personality that any links to specific influences are obscured.

This personality which appeared in much more nebulous form on Different Damage emerges bold and in control on Power. Each song has its own unique identity, whereas spots on Different Damage bled together a bit more. Overall, the songs are more accessible, with clearer melodies and less discordance. For many bands this would be a misstep, but it turns out that Q & Not U's penchant for the catchy is one of their best assets. Despite this general softening, both "X-Polynation" and "Book of Flags " are just as raging as anything prior, but they do so with more focus, and ultimately, more punch. Power proves Q & Not U has come a long way, and they're worth sticking with.

1. Wonderful People
2. 7 Daughters
3. L.A.X.
4. Throw Back Your Head
5. Wet Work
6. District Night Prayer
7. Collect the Diamonds
8. Beautiful Beats
9. Dine
10. X-Polynation
11. Passwords
12. Book of Flags
13. Tag-Tag