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I adore musical eccentricity, but only when it's executed well, and with enough deranged flair posited within an apt context, rather than just for the sake of. Qui, on paper, promise aesthetic madness. The cover artwork's odd... in a good way - cartoon depictions of the duo that comprise the band. They were signed to Mike Patton's Ipecac label for the release of their second album back in 2007. That, in itself, is an implicit endorsement for musical lunacy. And track titles such as 'Ham Spray' and 'Kicked Out of Mime College' whet the demented appetite. So what about the actual music on 'Life, Water, Living...', their third full-length offering; does it deliver the sonically aberrant treats already primed within my expectations? It most certainly does, but within a more structured context, and not as outlandish, than anticipated. Perhaps my listening proclivities have become increasingly more immune to what others would immediately label as "out there", after years of subjecting my ears to the likes of Solefald, Ephel Duath, Unexpect, Psyopus, Fantômas, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, De Staat, et al. As such, for me, 'Life, Water, Living...' sits at the more normalised end of the experimental spectrum.

As already mentioned, Qui are just a duo (aside from the contributions of three guest vocalists), which, apparently, is a return to their inception. Scratch Acid and The Jesus Lizard's David Yow joined the band as vocalist for the Ipecac release, so they were fleetingly a trio, but are now back to a two-piece. Best described as politely and accessibly batty, Qui's appeal will be more far reaching than your more radical experimentalists. Jazzy in places, unhinged pop in others, many of the songs are underpinned by inventive basslines, innovative percussion, and melodically rich vocal harmonies, as well as moments of heavied-up dissonance and keyboard/piano punctuations. It's an infectious blend of elements that have been efficaciously combined within some adeptly composed songs, even if they're melodically derivative on occasion. The verse of 'Whateryadoin?', for example, reminds me of another song I can't quite pinpoint... perhaps, bizarrely, Madonna's 'Frozen'; maybe something else. Either way, it's been lifted from something.

All in all, there's much mind fodder here to recommend Qui for those who like their music to be served with a more cognitively stirring twang. That said, with an album that remains accessible on the whole, it's not as stilted and challenging a listen as you might first think. And with an album length as succinct as their band name, it's only a quick burst of insanity. Qui? Who? Precisely.
Review by Mark Holmes
25th Feb 2014
1) Kicked Out of Mime College
2) Life, Water, Living...
3) Mucho Sex in America
4) Awkward Human Interest
5) You're a Girl
6) Boogie Down Disappointment
7) Whateryadoin?
8) Songbirds
9) Proof of Bass
10) The Kind of Jazz This Is
11) Ham Spray
"...there's much mind fodder here to recommend Qui for those who like their music to be served with a more cognitively stirring twang."