Held in Splendor
Reviewed by: Melissa Komar
A sometimes run-away train conglomeration of thirteen folksy, psychedelic rock songs, Quilt’s second full-length album, Held in Splendor, is pieced together wonderfully with soaring guitar solos, the trio’s harmonies, and a hint of Indian-inspired instrumentation and experimentation. For those of us that didn’t get to experience Woodstock, Held in Splendor gives listeners a sterling example of music from that era, although it’s surprisingly difficult to pinpoint a specific musical act or band that it aspires to be or praises.
Aside from psych-rock, the tracks also delve into folk harmonies reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel. The lap steel guitar playing and chimes provide a beautiful contrast to the wispy, echoing vocals. The conclusion of “Eye of the Pearl” sounds as if it has just been plucked from one of Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s movies. “Tired and Buttered” sees a building guitar solo reminiscent of the part of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” playing in Forrest Gump as Jenny spins out of control on a balcony during a drug binge. The ever-constant tambourine only enforces the 1960s-1970s musical influence, but in a fresh, never trite, fashion.
“The World is Flat” is void of all lyrics and is a somewhat unnecessary instrumental exploration down the rabbit hole considering many of the tracks have minimum lyrics and maximum jamming. You’ll find it difficult to skip tracks on Held in Splendor as it’s sometimes indiscernible where one track ends and one begins, with some songs picking up the melody of the preceding song.
The album concludes with the dynamic explosion of music, “I Sleep in Nature”. It starts out in the dream-like, alternate universe state permeated on the entire album both in the music and lyrics with the harmonizing musing, “You may forget your name as you drift away to sleep and find yourself awake within another dream.” The song gradually crescendos higher pitched instrumentation before winding back down to close the album with minimum guitar chords.
Overall, Held In Splendor is easy on the ears and a flawless homage to the psychedelic rock era. The harmonies are mesmerizing and the deep exploration of music removes you from the physical world, creating a patchwork of colors much like the afghans pictured on the album cover. It does, however, leave the listener uncertain as to what can be defined as a distinctly Quilt sound. Just above the cusp of Listenable, the album is Bad-Ass, because despite sounding so characteristically ‘60s, it does this so well.