Words by Karl Johnson
The second you dive off the springboard and splash into the cooling yet disorientating waters of Quale Futuro? – the debut full-length from London’s Qlowski – you’d be forgiven for not knowing what on earth you’ve fallen into. The wandering, glitchy electronics and static electricity that echos through opener Ikea Youth Pt.2 is quite the ride, harnessed only by a propulsive bass groove that offers you a one-way pass into Qlowski‘s fearlessly thoughtful and artistic universe.
Quale Futuro? is littered with delightful moments of vocal comradery, with childhood friends Michele Tellarini and Cecilia Corapi taking turns to walk us through dimly-lit sonic tunnels and moments of cavernous noise, before returning us into startling broad daylight. On Folk Song, pummelling drum rolls cast shadows on angular guitar lines, as each vocalist has a moment in the spot light. Almost like an unstoppable sunrise, the band run seamlessly straight through to A Women, in which Corapi excersizes a vocal so spellbinding it marks a real standout moment on the album. “A woman like me should be strong enough to let it go, to let it flow. And I tried, I’m trying, and I tried,” chants Corapi. The strong sentiment within no doubt connecting deeply with anyone who has ever felt disheartened or put down and has had to dig deep to remember their true worth.
Lentil Soup injects a heavier feeling to the record in the chorus, verses rattle along at high tempo like a ghost train threatening to career off the tracks at any moment, bound only by Tellarini’s emotive vocal performance. To Be True offers a krautrock breakdown that enters into consciousness-expanding territory, we’re asked to be thoughtful and true to ourselves in tumultuous times, a track which sits heavy on the conscience. If To Be True is the late night procrastination, All Good contains the psychological darkness of a bad hangover, instrumentally dissonant and destructive with it’s head held above water by the glistening and euphoric tone of the keyboards.
As we veer towards the end of the album, Lotta Continua provides something lighter and immediately more romantic, it’s a testament to Qlowski as a band how the tone shifts instrumentally between certain moments on the album – interludes and interesting arrangements provide refreshing left turns and otherwise tranquil moments. Larry’s Hair Everywhere is an insight into the musical mindset of the players in the band, as the track offers a shifting sands moment where the track explores manic noise rock territory, before returning the song to it’s former state untarnished. The doom-laded thrill of The Wanderer doesn’t go unnoticed and provides a feeling of sheer euphoria and terror, akin to falling into a cold plunge pool where your thoughts are snapped back to reality. The closing track In A Cab To Work might depict the slow motion political car crash we can expect to see in the coming years in post-brexit, post-truth and post-pandemic Britain – Les Miserable from London outfit Italia 90 providing a vocal snarl on the track.
Quale Futuro? is a multifaceted beast, an album that rallies itself from within and a dystopian mind map for our times. If you’re willing to dive in, it’ll keep you exactly where you want to be, thoughtful and on the edge of your fucking seat.