Quinn The Brain – Open Wide EP
Self – Released
Release Date: 29/05/2020
Running Time: 17:10
Review by Dark Juan
Good evening, my dear ladies and gentlemen. I am lounging upon my chaise longue, sipping from a delicately jewelled chalice and sporting my Seventh Invocation Robes (Autumn Weight) after a busy couple of days involving proselytising, being endlessly shouted at by the Dread Lord Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover, smashing up indestructible sofas and having Mrs. Dark Juan experience medical emergencies requiring trips to the apothecary and then the hospital. This is of course not in order of importance and rather more to do with my permanently derailed train of thought. I should have been wrangling young gentlemen as per my normal employment, but Mrs. Dark Juan comes first. At least that’s what I promised her when we first started seeing each other. Wink wink. I’ll let you judge how trustworthy I am on that score.
Also, for Seventh Invocation Robes (Autumn Weight), read beat up old (yet supremely comfortable) Batman onesie. I’m all about full disclosure, me.
I’m also all about writing about the music I’m listening to. What a segue. Tonight’s offering is an intriguing and beguiling band of Texan misfits called Quinn The Brain. Now, if you are of a certain age (and can recall MTV actually playing music videos and having Vanessa BLOODY Warwick ruining Donington for everybody) you may remember a poorly animated and distinctly sarcastic programme on MTV called Daria, about a young alternative lady called Daria Morgendorfer and her adventures with Jane and Trent. And her endless watching of Sick, Sad World. Digressing? Me? Never… Anyway, there was an episode of Daria called Quinn The Brain That’s where Quinn The Brain got their name from. They have therefore earned a bonus point for having a cool name from a TV show beloved of Dark Juan in his youth. I’m easily bought.
As this is a four track EP, I am going to do a track by track critique. Let us begin…
The record opener is also the title track. Beginning with a simple, chiming guitar lick, it rapidly goes down a rage-filled rabbit hole of fury and reminds this reviewer greatly of ‘Bruise Violet’ by Babes In Toyland in the delivery of the vocal by Arta Salehi in parts. This is not a criticism as Kat Bjelland is a fine, fine basis to take your performance from. Musically, the song rampages from riot girl rage and kickass riffs to alt-rock twanging before hitting off kilter vocals and rapid loud-quiet-loud dynamics. I like this very much so far. Hopefully track two lives up to the promise of this stomper of an opener…
Track two is ‘Step On Me’. My, this is grungy. All lo-fi guitar and angst-ridden lyrics with a tough punk edge to take the grunge undertones up a notch and out of the navel gazing bollocks that most grunge was. Special mention goes to bass player Steve Blackheart on this one, who serves up some of the filthiest, sexiest bass I have had heard for a long time. Lyrically, this one is about working in an industry where no-one cares about you and the futility of your trying to achieve something when no-one will ever notice. Welcome to the world that most of us inhabit. Although this is the weakest offering it’s still a fucking slamming song and well worth your time.
Lucky three then – entitled ‘Comes In 3s’ and about bad luck coming in threes and dreading the next piece of shitty bastard luck to empty its capacious, disease-ridden arse in your unsuspecting lap. Again we enjoy some sexy, sexy fucking bass from Mr. Blackheart and some very tasty guitar work from Arta as well as a vocal that oozes snotty, fuck you attitude without having to resort to the kind of inane, ball squeezing squealing that large, hirsute, bearded men frequently employ when they are playing heavy metal. This is one of the more unusual songs as it straddles the fence between grunge, punk and metal (is that more than one fence? Fuck knows.) Oh, and it’s a full moon at the end of the song too, so all fucking bets are off… Another top, top song.
Onto the record’s closing tune now, and it’s called ‘Dark Skies’ and it is by far the most metal of the songs on this EP. It’s got an absolutely doomtastic central riff and just drips melody and menace at the same time. Vocally, Arta treads a finely judged line referencing strong female vocal leads like Brody Dalle, Kat Bjelland, Die So Fluid’s Grog and even a bit of faux-cute Courtney Love and the words reference the loss of innocence, while skilfully leaving it to the listener’s imagination just what innocence has been lost. Such subtlety in songwriting is a rare and precious thing, especially in metal and other extreme music which tends to just bludgeon you over the head with the message the band wants you to understand. This is also a fucking kickass tune.
So, this is only a 17-minute EP but as a body of work it is extraordinarily complete. It’s a short but comprehensive journey down an absolutely rage filled tunnel of violence, edged weapons and negative emotions, and the musicians back this up by being able to emote this on their instruments as well as being able to rely on Arta’s witheringly intense vocal delivery going voraciously straight for your soft, white throat. I CANNOT WAIT for a full album, boys and girl! This really is one of my favourite records of 2020 so far, and I have listened to some high-quality alternative music this year. Quinn The fucking Brain are fucking magnificent!
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (y’all) awards Quinn The Brain a colossal 10/10. Treasure this, Quinn The Brain. It is a rare and precious thing. Dark Juan officially loves you.
01. Open Wide
02. Step On Me
03. Comes In 3s
04. Dark Skies
Arta Salehi – Vocals and Guitar
Billy Kimmel – Drums
Steve Blackheart – Bass
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.