The Sweet, Sweet Wild
New Year’s Night
It’s generally true that recording and performing are two distinct processes for musicians, but New Orleans-based one-man-band Quintron proves this isn’t the rule. The making of his latest album Sucre du Sauvage was an exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art with the visual and vocal stylings of puppeteer Miss Pussycat added to the mix – a recipe for another dose of the man’s self-described “swamp-tech.”
It often feels that the only thing holding this record together is its encapsulating energy. Dirty organ lines and frenetic, choppy drums set the stage for the kind of vocals you’d shout right back at the band at their show. Layers are whimsically brought in and out, and the surprise is that most of the time the end result is coherent, in its own messy way.
The first few tracks are the most structured on the record, with heavily swung grooves luring the listener down the strangest of rabbit holes. It’s a gradual bait and switch, as the songs become more jammy and abstract. Robert Rolston’s innovative instrumentation and multitasking fashions itself in several ways, but it’s when Miss Pussycat takes lead vocals that things are at their most bizarre. She’s an artist that works with puppets, and as campy as that may sound, seeing what kind of visuals she creates for “Banana Beat” or “Spirit Hair” is pretty enticing.
By the time the last third of the record is spinning, the tracks have deconstructed into ambient sounds – a mix of organ play and field recordings. Totally instrumental and lacking discernible form, it’s a challenging listen, one far different than the late-night party vibe of the majority of the album. The record’s closer “Morning” resolves things fittingly, with a placid organ vamp until a farewell message plays over loudspeakers. The dynamic range here is extremely ambitious, but Quintron and Miss Pussycat have the talent and creativity to pull it off.