Words by Ed King / Pics by Bryony Williams
On Friday 1st June, Quinn release their latest single – ‘All the Best’. Phew, where to begin…
Firstly, ALL HAIL SAM LAMBETH. This is unashamedly sycophantic, and mainlines into the comfortable narcissism that turned that fresh faced indie kid from the ‘Near to You’ video into the canine caning rockstar you can see to your left.
But sod it. Some people are born performers and Mr Lambeth’s ‘brainchild’ is a joy to behold if for no other reason than he’s at the front of it.
Secondly, I’m going to try far too hard in this review. Might as well admit it. Centre stage stadium pretensions aside, Sam Lambeth is a better music writer than I am and it pisses me off no end. Actually, to clarify, the fact he doesn’t write for Birmingham Review is what really flicks the nads, but it’s all pretty much the same to my ego.
So, with that in mind, let’s copy/paste something from the ‘All the Best’ press release:
‘All the Best’ represents the best of Quinn’s past and the exciting future they are set to embark upon – Lambeth’s knack for driving melodies are wrapped around soaring synths, pounding Balearic beats and subtle sampling. “We took a conventional rock song and messed about with it, but on some different coloured wrapping paper and tried to give Quinn a new identity,” Lambeth said. “I’ve always loved pop in its purest sense, and hearing Beck’s record Colors made me realise you can have it both ways.”
Couldn’t have put it better myself. Hush ego, hush. But Quinn’s latest single is catchy as hell. Like some metaphor involving an airborne virus and a big thumbed sports star, the boy writes a mean pop hook and no mistake. And whilst I wouldn’t use White Isle rhetoric to describe it, ‘All the Best’ is a clear windows down summer winner. Cars, floppy hair, mirror lens sunglasses etc, etc…
No pretensions, ‘All the Best’ won’t win an Ivor Novello, but it sends an army of smiling earworms marching down your lug holes from the first happy clappy riff until the somewhat unfortunate fade out. Lambeth’s vocals have seldom sounded stronger too. But with ball-out-of-the-park-regular Ryan Pinson in production it’s an unsurprisingly well polished chill pill. Apart from the fade out. I don’t like fade outs. But that’s me.
Lyrically, ‘All the Best’ – as the Bible of sugar coated indie decrees – is about unrequited love with a gracious smile and confident nod to the unknown. The irony is that behind this creative love in was a somewhat public clusterfuck of a fond farewell, one we won’t dwell on but is a) worth mentioning considering the song’s premise, and b) another feather in the cap of a man who seems to be endlessly chasing somebody’s summer. Refer to paragraph one.
OK, time for a counterpoint. There’s always a counterpoint. Hang on. Need to get my right click on the go again here…
When it came to the next project, Lambeth had one rule – don’t repeat yourself. “Our last EP, Crush, was a homage to the hazy melodies and fizzy fretwork of the ‘90s, and thus was very guitar driven,” he said. “For where I was headed next, I knew it had to be completely different. It was time to experiment.”
Different, sure, but completely..? And if you’re old enough, ‘Words that Say’ by Mega City Four. But this is what Sam Lambeth does with Quinn to such Technicolor effect, and there’ll be plenty of time for that dub step opera with the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. Fuck it, it’s summer. We’ve got convertible cars to drive down the M4.
And to surmise with more open ended plagiarism, if it ‘aint broke…
‘All the Best’ – Quinn
Quinn release their latest single, ‘All the Best’, on Friday 1st June. For more on Quinn, visit www.facebook.com/quinnrocks