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Artist: Q and Not U
Date Released: October 24, 2000
- A Line in the Sand
- And the Washington Monument (Blinks) Goodnight
- Fever Sleeves
- Hooray for Humans
- Kiss Distinctly American
- We Heart Our Hive
- Little Sparkee
- The More I Get, the More I Want
- Y Plus White Girl
- Nine Things Everybody Knows
- Sleeping the Terror Code
Generally speaking, Q and Not U were acknowledged as a tight rock outfit that defied Dischord convention because of their slinky, buzzword-inducing genre-hopping. Hailed in the post-No Kill No Beep Beep releases as having evolved because of the loss of their original bassist, the broken foot of their drummer, and the other assorted challenges thrust upon them (like, you know, expectations), Different Damage and Power rose to the fore of indie-rock watercooler commentary as a favorite feel-good set of songs designed to get your ass shaking wherever you might be.
What these people don't readily acknowledge is that it wouldn't have been possible without No Kill No Beep Beep, still quite possibly their finest release. Of course, it is completely derivative in a way only Dischord bands can be these days: Songs like And the Washington Monument (Blinks) Goodnight check Fugazi while Kiss Distinctly American follows in Jawbox's footsteps. Blah blah blah Circus Loopus, blah blah blah Rites of Spring, blah blah blah. Sorry, no: This album is jittery and angular, always moving and yet always doomed to the elitist scenes of "punks" in all cities.
The problem is, this band doesn't give a fuck about being derivative on here... Meaning that the oft-overlooked conundrum of being derivative is actually not even a problem. If anything, Q and Not U are all the better for mixing what they know with what they're supposed to know: The erratic Fever Sleeves has to be an album highlight as John Davis introduces the song with "It's the fashion self-informed, versus Mr. Navy Blue-and-Black, It's the fashion we contract..." and then carries on with all the youthful exuberance of an album Fugazi might've made a decade ago. The radar-gone-awry guitars of Davis and Harris Klahr are buoyed by the phenomenally octopus-like drumming of Chris Richards, a recurring compliment in later releases. While the lyrics are abstruse and nonsensical at first glance, on repeated listens it's a simply wonderful way of conjuring up imagery that lets your mind decide what it all means. Davis does the easy work by throwing the phrases and rhymes together; it is up to the listener to determine what exactly he's talking about.
This has frustrated many an attendee and the song titles alone (We Heart Our Hive, Y Plus White Girl, etc.) are enough to put off an unwilling participant in the Q and Not U experience... But for those ready to put their best foot forward, the DIY erraticism and interplay of Davis and Klahr (who shares guitar-playing and vocal duties alike, primarily in the second half of the album for the latter) are a splendid display of just how good Q and Not U could've been had they stayed the indie-rock course and not veered off to become an acclaimed minimalist funk-punk outfit instead. That, sadly, will remain the historical footnote for No Kill No Beep Beep. - PMasterson