Changes Near is dosed with Los Angeles rock history (not to mention a heady helping of Brit rebel cool and Northern California psychedelic swagger); twelve tracks drenched through with grass-stained guitar strains and whirling On-The-Road, sun flare seduction. The Quarter After has been (somewhat) quietly pumping out psych-revival pop for years, letting melodies (lyrical and instrumental) lazily float forth from a din of reverb-soaked soundscapes.
Opting to avoid the unkind trappings of psychedelia’s younger, noisier sibling, prog-rock, the Quarter After keeps its jamming on the healthy side of epic, allowing for the streaking fuzz rumination guitar solos on the chug-along mid-tempo head-bobber “Nothing Out Of Something.” The track also sinks Dominic Campanella’s whiskey-sipping, Neil Young-esque vocals deep within a churning mass of Hammond and choral bombast, no doubt refined by his brother and band-mate, Rob Campanella’s studio expertise (he having produced discs for an eclectic mixture of groups like the Tyde, Dead Meadow, Beachwood Sparks and Brian Jonestown Massacre). Dominic’s restrained, unaffected singing voice often keeps the band’s frothing concoctions from tipping too far into excess.
Elsewhere on the album, the group drops the growling guitars for jingle-jangle, treble-leaning powerchord pop, with tracks like “Changes Near, ” “She Revolves” and “Turning Away” dipping deep into territory well tread by groups like the Byrds, Teenage Fanclub and early Primal Scream. “Counting The Score” harkens back to the Flying Burrito Brothers, evoking a timeless country-folk composition with slippery slide-guitar and the kind of uplifting, multi-part harmonies that could accompany any number of open road, summertime adventures.
The forward-moving march of album closer “Sempre Avanti” finds the group snapping into a trance of tremolo guitar and quaking percussion, letting the final chords slowly filter away into nothingness, like smoke evacuating an opened bedroom.
It’s nice to hear classic psychedelic music interpreted by modern voices that don’t lean too much into the idiosyncrasies of freak-folk or the endless blasting of stoner metal. The Quarter After’s latest effort reminds eager ears of the not-so-forgotten past while remaining fresh enough to forge a new acid-baked aesthetic.
Favorite Track: “Counting the Score”