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Quivers - Golden Doubt (Album Review)

Thursday, 15 July 2021 Written by Huw Baines

On ‘Golden Doubt’ Quivers trade in an unabashedly romantic strain of jangle pop, adding colour to the wiry blueprints of their 1980s forerunners with scenes from bruised relationships and terrible loss, set against four part harmonies and rich guitars.

The Melbourne group’s ace in the hole is a sense of dramatic purpose that they use with care. The wonderful opener Gutters of Love might be described as soaring or emotionally resonant, but it doesn’t appear to carry this sense of scope as baggage. It feels honest, with a folksy edge to its vocal interplay that keeps it from slipping into maudlin territory.

When the pace picks up a little, Quivers are equally assured. Having released a full album cover of R.E.M.’s ‘Out of Time’ it perhaps shouldn’t be surprising that they have a handle on winsome, unusual guitar-pop structures, and highlights such as the loping Chinese Medicine owe plenty to Peter Buck’s studied Rickenbacker riffs.

The one thing that might hold ‘Golden Doubt’ back is a lack of immediacy. We generally expect records in this vein to go all out in order to impress us, pushing vocal melodies to the front of the mix and running them up against equally hooky guitar lines. But Quivers demand some give and take from the listener, and most of these songs are patient rather than showy.

The knock on effect is that the best of them are almost transcendent when they get under the skin. The somnambulistic delivery of You're Not Always On My Mind’s chorus, for example, takes on a reassuring sense of repetition, and the following Videostores has an almost metatextual edge as the band—multi-instrumentalist Sam Nicholson, bassist-vocalist Bella Quinlan, guitarist-vocalist Michael Panton and drummer-vocalist Holly Thomas—take up the refrain, “Now you know, the future starts slow.”

This is well-trodden ground, which makes ‘Golden Doubt’ all the more impressive. Quivers know their history and have a handle on how this stuff works, allowing them to impart their own personality and preoccupations in exciting ways. 

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