There is no doubt that the latest record from Qlowski is heavily steeped in post-punk, with its lyrical content heavily influenced by the political turmoil of our times and also providing a stark insight to the ever encroaching reach of capitalism in our society. Yet I find it a tad insincere to put Quale Futuro? inside of such a limiting box, as in this record we see the London-based quartet stretch out of these boundaries with their diverse explorations of sonic textures and compositions. It’s one of those cases wherein an artist not only strengthens the base of what their influences have offered, but transcend their limits by providing new and exciting ideas for the modern times.
Take opener “Folk Song” as an example, with its clamoring riffs uplifted by sweltering synths and a tight drum and bass groove. The moods seem to clash in this song, with a bright sheen of melodies overlaid by a rhythm rife with snappy tension. It’s in these conflicts of pleasing sounds against noise-laden effects that make Qlowski’s songs particularly gripping. The same motif can be heard again in “Lentil Soup”, where the band paints a picture of someone down in their luck economically – grasping for the cheapest meal they can find to sustain themselves. Still, even with these troubled depictions Qlowski fills the soundscape with pleasant synths and seamlessly vibrant melodies. The world may be falling apart through this lens, yet still they offer a smidgen of hope to tide us through.
This idea culminates in the album centerpiece “To Be True”, which takes the spot as the strongest and most meaningful track in the record. With a lighthearted start that breaks down into a weaving struggle of clashing tones, the band pours their heart out in this six minute banger. A tightly-woven depiction of the pursuit to be honest and stand up for your principles in the face of adversity.
Other standouts here include the lush and somber harmonies of “Lotta Continua” which feels like an 80’s classic. “The Wanderer” has a weighty rock twist to it that’s unique to its peers and provides a great perk up moment at the end of the album, which culminates in a subdued closer “In A Cab To Work”. A solemn reflection where the band looks toward unity as the possible solution of all our woes, if only we can take the steps necessary.
In asking the question Quale Futuro? (what future?) Qlowski dissects the past and present, reflecting our reality and laying down the tracks to help us tread the unknown times that lie ahead. This is an album we highly recommend.