I enthusiastically volunteered to review this new Quaker Wedding record when the opportunity came up. I enjoyed both their previous full length that came out in 2020, and especially the “Russian Hill” single that came out last year. Those two songs also appear here, and the band continues its upward trajectory on their forthcoming LP “Total Disarray”.
Providing some context to this record helps to understand where it’s coming
from. Quaker Wedding are from NYC, but frontman/bassist Marco Reosti returned home to Detroit for an extended period of time during the pandemic, and discovered that he had left some things behind. Namely, feelings. Although he is five years removed from a divorce, coming back to the scene of the crime has reopened a lot of those old wounds.
The album opener is about coming across his ex-wife’s wedding dress in a closet. On the following song he sings, “Now I know how it feels to be a ghost. To haunt the place I love without the people I miss most”. This trip home is not an easy one.
The band are able to capture the same quality of sadness that Jawbreaker, Tiltwheel, and Broccoli are able to, which really puts them in the high society of melancholy punk rock. That ability stems not just from subject matter, but also (and maybe even especially) the way a properly played sour note can evoke an emotional response. A lot of bands can SOUND like Jawbreaker, but not very many FEEL like them. Put on “Staten Island Ferry” by Quaker Wedding, and you’re going to FEEL the Jawbreaker.
Another stylistic comparison that’s hard to ignore is Needles//Pins. The most notable difference being that Quaker Wedding have a couple more gears to their vocals, making the gravelly parts more effective, rather than tiresome after repeated listens. This is an unpretentious, honest, adult human record about loss and complicated recovery. The lyrics, instrumentation, and overall vibe come together in a nice way through the uncomfortable vignettes the band illustrate for us in the songs.
I hope this album has provided Marco with some cathartic relief, and that time has provided him with something better. If nothing else, his band has provided us with what will definitely be one of my favorite records of 2022.