By: Tommy Walzer
The latter half of adolescence is short, sweet, bitter, and undeniably awkward. Quarterbacks take all those memories and craft them into super brisk sugar rushes of twee. There’s absolutely no holding back on their new self-titled album. There’s no time to sit and dwell on lost lovers while soft guitar plucks slowly lull you to sleep; these songs spill all their heart into your ears, turning stark realities into short-lived lo-fi anthems.
Over 22 minutes, the album’s 19 tracks offer fleeting yet critical glimpses into the band’s suburban experiences in New Paltz, NY. The cheeky accounts of young love from vocalist/guitarist Dean Engle will make you laugh, smile, and reminisce on past realtionships. “This absence of past isn’t hard to understand / Because my life began when you first held my hand,” he sings halfheartedly on “Never Go.”
The rest of the lyrics on the album are more of the same. Engle’s never-ending accounts of brokenheartedness would seem a bit pathetic if it weren’t for his remarkably poetic and insightful lyricism, especially on tracks like “Center,” where he ends with this beautiful stanza:
Because there’s such relief in coincidence / A universe that finally works how you always suspected / With yourself in the center / As I get older, I recognize that love is mostly situational.
Like any three-pice punk act, the bassist’s role is heightened, as is Tom Christie’s on “Quarterbacks,” making each track warm and fuzzy alongside Engle’s bright chords. Listen to “Prove me Wrong” to get a good taste of his tightly galloping buzz. On the other side of the rhythm is drummer Max Restaino, who can go from zero to 60 in the blink of an eye — especially on tracks like “The Dogs.”
The attitudes and themes of this album are serious, but the band’s hyperactive sound ensures that they aren’t taken seriously. The pacing is just too quick to allow you to do anything less than tap your hand or foot at manic speed. You might as well just crack a beer and let it all wash over you. Instead of hiding behind a mask of gritty fuss like their 80s punk predecessors of similar inspiration, Quarterbacks leave it all on the field and review the unfair game of life seemingly unfazed from the sidelines.