Super Arcade is the debut album by Quarry, an Indie-pop singer-songwriter based in London. Quarry, aka Vittorio Tolomeo, has been tirelessly playing shows around Europe with various bands and several independent projects. Vittorio previously founded the band Prizeday, who performed at The Great Escape, and their short film ‘War Zone’ was showcased at Cannes Film Festival in 2014. Here’s my track-by-track thoughts on Quarry’s album:
Super Arcade – The title track opens with a bluesy grit, matched by a strong vocal. Quickly gaining traction, the chorus delivers once it lands about 43 seconds in. The lead-guitar solo post-second chorus nicely reaffirms the hook before taking us back to the pre-chorus. It has a desert-rock feel throughout, echoed by the whining Josh Homme-esque cries towards the end.
Inside The Morning Light – There’s a super-dated feel to this one, it could almost be early Bowie in the vocal delivery. Great vocal harmonies make sure the chorus hits the mark, before easing us back in with acoustic guitar – but not for too long. Big climactic ending.
Everything and its Opposite – An Interpol-style riff instantly draws attention on the first play. The desert-rock style continues with great reverb on the vocal and guitar lines that don't care about being too flashy. The lead and rhythm guitar battle chop by chop before the overdriven bass is left to rumble in at the two-minute mark. By the time we’re three minutes in it’s utter carnage, and I like carnage.
Man with the Scars – Opening with violins, this could almost be a Massive Attack track. I was left waiting for the vinyl crackle snares. The track unfolds, highly atmospheric, with a great vocal line and sparing use of instrumentation, before being battered in the closing moments by the feedback guitar tone. This track was needed to bring the vibe down.
Firefighter – Great riff to open matching the vocals, very mid-noughties indie-rock. Super catchy, super QOTSA, one for cruising on a sandy road. The previous track did a great job of holding back so this one can perk the listener back into life. Cowbell sits very nicely in verse 2, and post-chorus a very Favourite Worst Nightmare-style guitar solo rings through. The choruses are strong, and get more ferocious each time around.
Sweet Alien on Creamy Skis – A slow one, I think I needed that post-’Firefighter’. Gorgeous piano, working with highly melodic vocals and strings. Kit joins around 1.10, and it’s fill-city – super ballad. The track breaks before heading back into the verse, which I admit did throw me. Around 3.20 a very brief guitar solo joins, and could almost be a take from The National’s latest album. Not the strongest song on the album, but does give needed respite.
Haters Online – Super opening. Love the fuzz guitar and the vocal harmonies. Could hear this one on The Boat That Rocked – it has a very aged and retro sound while the lyrics are about the perils of social media. Strong chorus, but the verses set the tone for this one.
London Cloak – A great deal of character in this vocal, and good social commentary. Great festival chorus, but this one is perhaps a minute longer than it should be. This sort of track is better short and sweet.
Longest Years – Oooh, here we go. I feel like I’m engaging in a very tense stare-off in a tapas bar somewhere in Seville. Nice. Love the tom rolls, love the guitar, but the bass gets the credit. The track hops, skips and jumps between sections sporadically, which doesn’t let the listener settle but the penultimate track always throws a spanner in.
Reborn – Lovely vocal line brings the guitar in and the melody line in the vocal is super hooky. The breakdown around two minutes in works really well. This one does not end on a bang but reintroduces the vocal from the start of the piece. I’m not sure that’s how I would have done it.
This album is a solid piece of work, nicely written and pieced together. The closer wasn’t a fitting finale for me, but that’s just my preference. I’d advise everybody to check out Quarry – I’m sure that Vittorio puts on a super live show.