Dianogah | qhnnnl (Southern)

cd_dianogah.jpgqhnnnl documents that the best math-rock records smoke at one turn and whisper gently along the next.




Now this record was a pleasant surprise. Call it presumptuous, but I counted out Dianogah as existing in the land of the living a while ago. Thankfully, that is not the case. One of the preeminent indie rock bands to come out of the ’90s—or any decade, for that matter—Dianogah specialized in largely mellow and complicated instrumentals. Eschewing the guitar in favor of dual bassists Jay Harvey and Jay Ryan, Dianogah’s sound was quite soothing and distinctive.

With their first record in six years, Dianogah has returned with a disc that not only carries on the sound that they are know for, but include several vocal tracks and numbers that are the most aggressive of their career. In other words, qhnnnl documents that the best math-rock records smoke at one turn and whisper gently along the next. In the simplest of terms, qhnnnl is an incredible record and one of the best discs that you are going to come across this year.

While Dianogah are the authors of this disc and thusly deserve the lion’s share of the praise, one cannot understate the contributions from guest artists Andrew Bird and Stephanie Morris. While Bird provides violin that appears in a number of tracks—most prevalently in the gorgeous "Andrew Jackson"—Morris’ vocals are wonderful. Nowhere else are her beautifully, understated vocals so affecting than in "Sprinter." You will be hard-pressed to find another three minutes that come together this well.

As to the aforementioned fire in Dianogah’s step, the title track is the most startling and outstanding. Evoking The Jesus Lizard and Season to Risk, the track is almost unrecognizable as a Dianogah song. The bass throbs, lurches and all but jumps out at you. Moving on to "I Like Juice in a Shark Suit," it seems as if Dianogah is channeling the ghost of June of 44. Strangely enough, that band’s guitarist/vocalist Jeff Mueller (Shipping News) is thanked in the liner notes. Finally, the two-minute "You Might Go Off," brims with rage in relation to the Bird/Morris tracks which preceded it. Yep, this coaster is an outstanding mixture of quiet and loud; qhnnnl is math-, post- whatever rock at its finest. A | David Lichius

RIYL: Turing Machine, Six Parts Seven, Pele

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