By: Eric Greenwood
Q and Not U hinted at the creative growth spurt evident on its new full-length, Power, in the opening moments of its sophomore release, Different Damage, on the song “Soft Pyramids.” The angry post-punk bleating of its Discord debut, No Kill No Beep Beep, had morphed into a stranger, more melodic beast, trading the razor-lined guitars for buoyant layers of vocals and propulsive polyrhythms.
Even more experimental in its minimal approach, Q and Not U practically abandons the guitar altogether in favor of synthesizers and percolating, disco-flavored rhythms. Luckily, the band doesn't cave into the dance-punk trend without expanding upon its current ubiquity with skillful songwriting and risky avoidance of testosterone.
The powerful urgency of No Kill No Beep Beep doesn't have a place in Q and Not U's envelope-pushing mindset these days, although it does retain that brainy sense of self-obsessed paranoia it has channeled from the beginning. The falsetto chant of the opener, "Wonderful People", will have old fans scratching their heads, but the song's infectious, Chic-inspired guitar twitches disallow any urges to abandon ship.
Even without hiding behind serrated guitars and charging rhythms, Q and Not U explores a kinetic dynamism with one foot still loosely connected to punk's ever-expansive garden.