(06.2008, Soft Abuse)
Verdict = Rambling, crumbled bliss
One man rock deconstructionist Pumice follows up Pebbles, his much loved 2007 opus, with another slice of off-kilter New Zealander heaven from the Soft Abuse stable. Stefan Neville, the man behind the porous rock (pun intended!), never fails to impress. I mean, once you start to backtrack and uncover the guy’s staggering back catalog that has been created in just a few short years and then realize that there isn’t a blemish among the whole bunch you start to gain some perspective. The thing is, even with so much awesome work behind him, each new release feels as personal and humble an affair as the last making Neville that perfect kind of artist that feels both like an eclectic genius and an grinningly awkward friend. Quo follows along these lines perfectly dishing out eleven unassuming bedroom jam. In fact, Quo seems a lot more laid back than Pebbles. With tracks mostly brewing around the two to three minute mark, Neville has a fair, though loose grip on the reigns for this one. Where Pebbles found Neville dipping his toes liberally into every aspect of the muse he’s mastered, Quo finds Neville simply grabbing an inner tube and floating down a lazy river to submerge his feet. Don’t let this new more-off-the-cuff-than-before suit catch you off guard though because the feel and flow of Neville’s latest Pumice outing is beyond superb. Things are still identifiably Pumice, meaning the guitars are mangy, song structures are fractured and vocals swarming with a lo fidelity hum. Yep, Neville hasn’t lost his lovable signatures; he’s just allowed them a new kind freedom that bowls you over with a subtle, surprising impact, kinda like true love. Quo is that album. I’m trying to quit my tendency of prematurely exclaiming “best of 2008” nowadays, but rest assured, a years worth of new records won’t be context enough to show the glistening beauty of this album. Quo is a personal reminder of why I fell in love music in the first place.
Pumice - Pebbles