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Album Review

One of the original batch of bands that started mixing indie rock, post-punk, and disco-influenced rhythms in the '90s, Q and Not U return with Power, an album that nods to dance-punk's moment in the sun and also finds them adding more dimensions to their already versatile sound. Like Les Savy Fav, Q and Not U are among the strongest songwriters working in this style, and on Power, they're equally adept at short, sharp shocks like "L.A.X." and more introspective pieces such as "Dine." This ebb and flow makes the album less forceful than previous work like No Kill No Beep Beep, but it also makes Power more interesting, even if the ping-ponging between quietly quirky pieces like "Throw Back Your Head," an oddly folky, flute-driven song, and brainy, spazzy pop like "Wet Work" is disconcerting at first. It's tempting to single out Power's most singular moments, like the medieval harmonies on "District Night Prayer," as the album's highlights, because they're such a departure; however, "Book of Flags" and "Tag-Tag" are prime examples of the band's undeniably kinetic punk-funk. "Wonderful People" and "Beautiful Beats" are even more danceable, but still retain that paranoid, too-smart-for-their-own-good feel of all of Q and Not U's work. This feeling comes to the fore on the tense, "Glass Onion"-esque "Collect the Diamonds" and "X-Polynation," which both echo the trend of mixing politics and dance-punk, but do so more subtly, and timelessly, than the rants of !!! and Radio 4. Even when there are plenty of other bands working in a similar style, Q and Not U remain more distinctive and harder to classify than many of their peers, which makes Power an exciting album and proof that the band has variety and vitality to spare.


Formed: November, 1998 in Washington DC

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

In 2000, Dischord records signed two unique new bands that both embodied the sound of their forefathers while pushing the boundaries of Dischord-style rock to new arenas. Q and Not U, formed from ex-members of Elusive, John Davis, Harris Klahr and Chris Richards, were the more straightforward and enigmatic of the two (Faraquet being only slightly on the more technical end). Their full-length debut, No Kill No Beep Beep, proved their ability to write complex yet catchy rock songs with quite a bit...
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Power, Q and not U
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