On Their Third Album, “Plaza,” Quilt Weave A Masterpiece

Just two years ago when Quilt released Held In Splendor, we could not get enough of their gorgeous harmonies and blend of Summer o’ Love psych within the construct of a three-minute pop song that suddenly accelerates into the cosmos.  On Plaza, the Boston-bred band, claimed by Brooklyn on wavers, take everything to a different level: the songwriting, the production, the performances.  This ‘un will reside on our hard drive until we leave the planet.

Anna Fox Rochinski gets the proceedings going with “Passersby,” which sounds like Golden Palominos-era Syd Straw singing at a garden wedding in the sunlight of Big Sur.  Already we can tell what we are in for: an expanded pallet with flutes floating over keyboards and guitar, the purity of her voice in no way obscuring that this is a band that could jam ’til the last stoner leaves Bonnaroo.

On the songs where Rochinski and Shane Butler sing together, we enter the realm of Cali Power Pop with a nod to Revolver-era Beatles.  Need to get your bearings?  Okay, remember when the Bangles covered Katrina and the Waves’ “Going Down To Liverpool”?  Yeah.

If we had not caught Quilt on their sophomore tour with upper classmen Woods in the late-winter of 2014, we might not have fully understood these guys are so much more than an art-school project, taking perfect form in the studio.  Listen to their 26:18-long version of “Milo” on that year’s Quilt In Marfa release and you get a sense of the band in full: in the open air of West Texas, in an art enclave, for cryin’ out loud, these guys wail like wolves.

Yet on the thoroughly pleasing Plaza they play like Eloise in the back hallways, thoroughly free yet constrained from the mean streets of New York.

Residing on our hard drive ’til we leave the planet…

Quilt are playing at DC9 on Saturday, March 5.  See you there.

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