Obliterated by a tumultuous year with lingering anxiety, uncertainty and a city ready to break any strand of hope, Qlowski, resorted to what they know best, turning frustration into dreams, stockpiling possibilities, fabricating desire and simply, living. This is Quale Futuro? their debut LP for Maple Death Records and Feel It Records.
London based twee-punks Qlowski entered the studio in late January 2020, basically before everything. Crammed in a small studio room in Tottenham Hale with producer Lindsay A. Corstorphine (Sauna Youth, Cold Pumas, Middex) they created a striking, full blown manifesto, where their early post-punk nuances are heightened by an extremely poetic and compelling vision that encapsulates words, imagery and noise. Propulsive rhythms, a modern spin on kiwi-pop and a weird combination of dark punk, noise rock and flower pop are still the foundation of their sound but it’s the combination of bandleaders Mickey and Cecilia’s voices that creates an eerie effortless sense of familiarity. It’s no wonder they’ve known each other since they were young kids. ‘A Woman’ shines bright with Cecilia’s intimate and prismatic approach that unites Poly Styrene’s fierce delivery with the ethereal vocal melodramas produced by Joe Meek in the 60s. Mikey’s howl is confrontational and direct, moving from the motto-induced style of Italian new wave art-punks CCCP on ‘Lentil Soup’ to a deep commanding calm steadiness on ‘Lotta Continua’ and frenetic frenzy on ‘To Be True’. The stabilizing presence of Danny and Christian’s rhythm section has freed the band to develop and expand furious kraut-punk assaults like on deep cut ‘The Wanderer’. Les Miserable from London punks Italia 90 lends his snarl on the sci-fi 50s tinged romantic closer ‘In A Cab To Work’.
Ferocity, heart, art and conviction travel together on Quale Futuro?, placing Qlowski in that beautiful lineage of bands trying to escape the masculine showmanship of borderline rock’n’roll and outsider punk. Martin Newell, Television Personalities, Half Japanese, The Raincoats, The Clean, Killing Joke, Aussie Punk. Music narrating life through all the artistic forms. If concrete-punk was just a fun label thrown around to define Qlowski in the early days, now it has become a calling, a statement defining their future.
Our take: Quale Futuro? is the debut album from London’s Qlowski, and it’s a perfect fit with the thoughtful, progressive punk Feel It Records has been putting into the world. Qlowski’s sound is tough to pin down. They have two vocalists, each of whom has a distinctive texture and timbre, and the mix of instruments varies from track to track as well, with some songs centered on synth melodies, some around guitar, and some where the two instruments erupt simultaneously. While I’m sure there are several circa-1980 post-punk bands you could compare them to, they don’t sound like a post-punk revival band. Like their underrated London buddies Sauna Youth (whose Lindsay Corstorphine produced this album), Qlowski sounds impeccably modern, informed by the classics (how couldn’t you be in this age of information overload), but bent on pushing forward with fresh sounds and approaches. Another thing that strikes me about Quale Futuro? is how fully realized a record it is. It looks like Qlowski has been a band for at leave five years, and Quale Futuro? has a developed voice, but it also has a concept that ties together the music and packaging. The songs’ lyrics seem focused on the mundane struggles of modern metropolitan life, and the question in the record’s title contrasts this bleak existence with a future that is not only uncertain, but perhaps even worse than what we have now. This idea gets interrogated further in the zine that accompanies the record, which collects work from many artists and writers, all of which relates to that central theme. We live in a world where Bandcamp feeds and Spotify algorithms usher us onto the next thing, but Quale Futuro? is an album that rewards—even demands—your sustained attention.