Dublin-based Quarter Inch Collective has its nose to the grindstone
Artist: Quarter Inch Collective
Venue: Workman's Club
Date Reviewed: February 6th, 2013
It isn’t just Dublin music label Popical Island that’s keeping the country safe for the awareness of alternative bands – Dublin-based Quarter Inch Collective also has its nose to the grindstone. Or had, as this gig not only launched the label’s latest tape release, Quompilation Three (which is handed out free on price of admission), but also ended its brief but influential life. QIC specialised in the release of cassette tapes (hence its moniker), which might seem a ridiculously retro thing to do if it weren’t for the fact that sales of cassettes are rising (although to what feasible commercial level is arguable).
Nonetheless, QIC joined a special club: those enthusiastic and committed people who care enough about home-grown music that they will work all hours for very little. QIC also put on gigs for collections of acts that will make some noise for a while, and then – as is the way with these small but important scenes – either advance towards some level of greatness or retreat into the dowdy rehearsal rooms from whence they came.
There doesn’t seem to be that many people at the venue, and those that are seem to know each other well. Members of the performing bands also mill around the venue floor, which immediately suggests a community that not only celebrates but hugs itself, too.
The worst act is the first I catch – Ginola, a trio that blend Joy Division/Fall angularity with the thrash aesthetic of Fugazi and Shellac, but it’s all a bit tame, a bit show-off, and lacking in originality. The second act almost nails it, but what a pity the music of Turning Down Sex isn’t as good as the band’s name. Still, the trio’s often thrilling, smartly constructed instrumentals appear to know where they’re going.
Third act, Girl Band, take the best band of the night gong with a superb Velvet Underground/Kinks/Black Flag mix of crunchy guitars, astute distortion and taut melodies. It’s a sound that has its own internal dynamics; it’s a sound you’ll be hearing more of. On cassette tape or not. QIC or not.