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Quicksand
Slip (reissue) Tom Watson , September 20th, 2012 10:55

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And so Quicksand released Slip and everything seemed a little different. It was 1993 - one year before Kurt Cobain swallowed a mouthful of Remington and two years after punk allegedly broke. Hardcore’s Youth Crews were suffering from a spot of biological decline and required something slightly decelerated to get angry to. Amongst punk’s wilting complacency and Seattle’s slow-broiling illegitimacy, missing links began to occur. Bands had too many influences and not enough coherent fluidity between them. And then Quicksand released Slip... and it really did seem a little different.

Things just started to make sense. What with Walter Shreifels’s fruitful history with Gorilla Biscuits and Youth of Today, there was a punk vexation desperate to pummel life back into a scene that was being flogged harder than the corpse of a rotting horse. All the tenuous links to Danzig, coupled with a perpetual reverence towards Morrissey and David Byrne, appeared to be totally consilient. And discharged from this matured angst was Slip; a record that was a cosmic epoch ahead of the alternative criterion.

Following suit of their post-hardcore contemporaries, Quicksand’s infinite spell of genre wooing soared within Slip’s dozen tracks. But less like Helmet, Orange 9mm or even Fugazi, there was no call for subtlety. Alongside tour compadres, Anthrax and White Zombie, Quicksand began to belt out an onslaught of metal-tinged-grunge-tweaked-punk-esque-hardcore-psyche-rock, all within a matter of minutes. Their violent performances conjoined with their deep-seated, unorthodox musicianship rapidly elevated the band’s status leagues above the typical mosh band. They fashioned abrasive intelligence, enmeshed with instrumental chaos. It was absolute pandemonium. 

Yet all the mess and disharmony seemed professionally maintained. The irrefutable severity of tracks like 'Head To Wall' and 'Lie And Wait', elevate beyond anarchy. As snares penetrate incessant hi-hat slaps, sludgy riffs travel like aggressive circle pits. They permeate an authentic dissonance, accentuated by Shreifels’s husked, tonal wails. While the discordant scratches and cavernous bass rolls of Unfulfilled fight for attention, Shreifels takes his vocal and poetic artistry to pressure point: "To stand alone / To be without the glue, that keeps us glued together / And feeling so excrementable." He recites words like a gauche Ian Mackaye operating a speeding locomotive, tearing away from the rails. It’s the bark to Quicksand’s bite. 

But to talk about Slip in terms of single tracks would be dishonourable. It’s a whole package affair. The screeching wah and closing muffled twang of 'Omission' is only illuminated by the eerie, white noise drone of follower, 'Baphomet'. Even focal points such as 'Dine Alone' and title track, 'Slip' (which may be considered the two of record’s pinnacle moments), compliment each other all too well not to be heard in succession. Opener, 'Fazer', erupts with venomous precision, leaving an endless well of cathartic devastation that lingers until closing harmoniser, 'Transparent'. It’s all killer, no filler. It’s an album immaculately formed with the future of post-anything in mind. And now Quicksand are soon to re-release Slip.  It is 2012 - almost twenty years since the record’s creation. But will anything seem any different? Surely not, right? How could it? You can’t better perfection.

alex
Sep 20, 2012 7:35pm

I wore this tape out by 10th grade and I often forget what kindof impact it had on me. I was disappointed by the followup though... and also feeling bad about buying major label records by that time... anyway, great album...

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david
Sep 20, 2012 9:37pm

An overlooked masterpiece. Easily one of the 90s five best records.

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Chopper
Sep 21, 2012 2:52pm

Still one of my favourite albums of all time.

They've reformed to play a handful of gigs within the last two weeks, I would give almost anything to see them play "Slip" in its entirety.

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Neil
Jan 25, 2013 11:30pm

Loved this album back in the day, especially their cover of "How Soon Is Now" by The Smiths, which was the bonus track...hates The Smiths mind...

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