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CD Review – Q and Not U “Different Damage”

Q and Not U
Different Damage
Dischord Records

What does an extremely creative band do when no one thinks it can top its debut album? Why, reinvent itself entirely and top the previous release, of course.

After Q And Not U’s spastic and desperately beautiful No Kill No Beep Beep, the band went through a near fatal lineup change. One of the founding members and backbone of the group’s sound, bassist Matt Borlik, left the band. Luckily, the three remaining members, Chris Richards, Harris Klahr and John Davis, carried on and recorded the aptly named Different Damage.

In the first few seconds of Different Damage, the vocals of Richards and Klahr spell out the lyrics literally: “S-O-F-T P-Y-R-A-M-I-D-S E-V-A-P-O-R-A-T-E.” Then the adventure begins. The music is playful and unpredictable, thanks to changes in timing and style that defy common musical sense.

The careful bass playing by Richards and the casual guitar by Klahr combine with Davis’ Latin and jazz-influenced drums, making this a very danceable record.

On Different Damage, Q shows its softer side and even the most angry track, “Black Plastic Bag,” is tempered with the lightly delivered chorus that promises “Every town gets an Eiffel Tower tonight.” The record is very fun as well, filled with “na-na-nas” and “la-la-las,” but can get serious very quickly. The haunting and hypnotic “O’ No,” drifts in on comatose drums and murky guitar matching the weirdness of the lyrics: “Tattoo the sound in my lungs.”

At the end of the last song, “Recreation Myth,” the urge is to go to the beginning and start the ride all over again. Different Damage is an album full of surprises produced by none other than Ian Mackaye of Fugazi (who recorded the band’s first effort) and veteran indie rock producer Don Zientara.

Q And Not U is back, and a lyric from the track “Meet Me In The Pocket” holds their simple motto: “You can dance or hang it up.”

Contact Richard Schmidt at