St. Varela: Way Up Here It's Quiet... 

On paper, local quartet St. Varela has a pretty interesting formula: tumbling rhythms, big and ringing guitar chords, vague hints of '90s style psychedelia, and close harmony singing, smeared with electronic bleeps and honks. But on their debut record Way Up Here It's Quiet... the result is more in line with Alice in Chains' Jar of Flies remixed by Filter. And while that may not be among history's least dubious achievements, credit is due for attempting such an odd and audacious hybrid.

Does it work? That depends on the quality of each song. Too many tracks do float by without leaving much of an impression; worse is that a handful of songs are memorable primarily for their weaknesses. The main flaw of Way Up Here It's Quiet... is that its marriage of MTV Unplugged: '90s Alternative Rock Edition to MTV: Amped '90s techno compilations seems forced and unnecessary.

But songs like "A Call to Prayer," which recalls John Lennon's "sound of 1000 monks chanting" in the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" over beats as monolithic as Ringo's, and "Moving Along," where the acoustic guitars tether themselves to the rhythms, resulting in some serious Wonder Twin Powers, show quite a bit of promise. It's telling that the structures of these tracks abandon the quiet verse/big chorus template followed by the majority of the album. Still, the bulls-eye of "No Air Conditioning," in which all of St. Varela's ambitions are realized, indicate the band will only get better.

More by Joshua Levine


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

The Range

Three Great Things to Do in Tucson Today: Wednesday Jan. 23

Three Great Things to Do in Tucson Today: Tuesday Jan. 22

Three Great Things to Do in Tucson Today: Monday Jan. 21

More »

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

People who saved…

Facebook Activity

© 2019 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation