Despite the possible Talking Heads reference that makes up Jen K. Wilson’s nome de plume, Quick Beat Save leans much towards smoother, more subdued and languid sounds. If there is a connection at all it manifests itself in a similar non-conformist mind set rather than in the music itself. The same desire to merge the avant-garde with accessible pop, the same blurring of generic lines, the same exploratory nature but where Rhode Island School of Design’s finest were known for anxiousness and angularity, not to mention later world music dabbling, Quick Beat Save plays with dance vibes and minimalist synths, classical sounds and glitchy deliveries. Wrap all this in muffled and muted production, throw in vocals that seem to lie just out of earshot and her beguiling songs find their own unique spaces to inhabit.
Obvious comparisons might be Eno and Ladytron but it is intriguing to read that some inspiration at least came from less expected places such as Squeeze, Daft Punk and The Rural Alberta Advantage. But then you listen to Rewind The Dog and you can easily imagine a jaunty Glenn Tilbrook lyric hooking up with its intricate and accessible grooves. 1979 Pennies and Pluto is a strange staccato number, part clockwork fairground music machine and part alt-disco and Slow To Reverse is a wave of dream state, melancholic pop breaking on the listeners consciousness.
Quick Beat Save is as strange and beguiling as it is charming and unique. You may have heard something like it before but its deft weaves of classical and contemporary, past and present, analog and digital, accessible and baffling makes it stand out even within the canon of avant-gardening that has taken place on the fringes of popular music in the last 50 years. And even though it has some obvious hooks and beats, the real reward is in discovering more and more of its warm embedded textures, intricate layering and hidden depths with each successive play. Some music is for the quick hit, and there is a lot to be had here from first impressions but Quick Beat Save is definitely about the long game too.