“What would I say to you now?” Quinn frontman and The Indiependent’s own Sam Lambeth wistfully asks in ‘Williamsburg’, a track from the Birmingham-based band’s EP, Crush. In many ways the hook from this song encapsulates the underlying theme of the record; merging power pop with saccharine lyrics about lost love and bad decision making, Crush is an emotional rollercoaster through the days of your misspent youth. The Teenage Fanclub influence is definitely palpable throughout; the Scottish alternative rockers have a typically melancholic vocal style, and Quinn has the same tendency to overlay depressing lyrics over an upbeat tempo.
Lambeth artfully captures the sentiment of wanting to go back and tell yourself the things you wish you’d known when you were that little bit more naïve and inexperienced, a sentiment that reaches a head in ‘Never Worn it’, with the artful play on ‘worn’/’warn’ in the lyrics, “All the things you bought, well I’ve never worn / All the things you do / I was never warned” creating a palimpsest out of past and present which reflects the weird feeling that you’ve changed so much since your teenage years, but at the same time, things haven’t really changed at all.
With the band’s penchant for jangly arpeggios occasionally walking a dangerous line between catchy and annoying, the record encapsulates the dual sentiment of nostalgia for days gone by, and embarrassment at the person you used to be. Nostalgia is definitely a dominant theme of the record, but there’s an accompanying darker sense of bitterness which comes through in tracks like ‘I Wasted It’, where the lispy Wheatus style vocal laments the fact that, “I wasted it / I wasted it / I wasted every chance I had to be with you”. You can imagine yourself shouting along to this track in the same way that you might angry cry to Robyn’s ‘Dancing On My Own’, three years after a messy breakup when you hit a bump in the road and just need to think about where your life went wrong.
The lo-fi style of the band’s music video for their latest single, ‘Summer’s Gone’ is definitely a tribute to the hours you spent taking selfies on your family’s Mac desktop with your friends. Self-consciously homemade, the video reflects the ‘rough around the edges’ 90s aesthetic that the band are clearly so indebted to. In many ways it’s this self-conscious imperfection epitomised by the titling of ‘Imperfect Lovesong’ which makes this track one of the strongest on the record. Inverting typical romantic clichés of holding hands, slow dancing and running towards a lover, Lambeth sings, “I broke my finger / so I can’t hold your hand”, “I’ve got two left feet / so I never learnt to dance” and “I would run to you / but I’d fall flat on my face”. Suddenly, all those cringe moments and missed romantic opportunities are framed as inherently charming in their own special way, rather than the painful mistakes of a clueless youth that they surely were at the time.
If you fancy a trip down nostalgia lane then Quinn’s Crush is certainly one for your iTunes library. The band’s latest single ‘Summer’s Gone’ is available on Spotify and iTunes.
Words by Beth Kirkbride