Editor’s Note: Local drummer Nicholas Stahl (of Elevator Action and Hospital Ships) approached us begging to review the new Quiet Corral EP. We didn’t stand a chance, he was so convincing, and now we understand why. This is a solid band that deserves a lot of credit, and we are happy to publish his enthusiastic thoughts on the EP.

As I stood in front of a giant wall of flyers, I looked around at the extreme diversity of the bands that come through Lawrence. There are just so many touring bands that find a way to survive on the road. So many people think that becoming a touring band is way out of reach. It just takes a group who will stop at nothing in order to make sure they can continue to play music. Granted, most touring musicians don’t profit financially, what they earn in experience is irreplaceable. Someone once told me that what you love doesn’t have to pay the bills; you just have to find a way to pay the bills and still do what you love. Smack dab in the middle of that wall was a flyer for a Quiet Corral show.

Quiet Corral is quickly becoming one of those local bands that is grabbing their destiny by the horns and wrestling it to the ground. Their debut EP is a high-fi roller coaster hitting all sorts of emotional highs and lows.

The wonderfully selected songs on this EP perfectly demonstrate the versatile nature of the band. From sorrowful folk songs to perfect radio singles, Quiet Corral seems to know no bounds. The fact that these dudes do all of their recording themselves is incredible. Both Isaac Flynn (guitar) and Jim Barnes (percussion) engineered the EP at their place of employment, the Art House. Isaac and Jim have achieved an extremely polished sound without compromising the charm and aesthetics that come with an artist recording their own record.

Quiet Corral opens the EP with a instrumental guitar only track. This twenty four second snipit gives a little preview to the sing-along that is about to follow. The first full track on the EP, “Thieves,” is the perfect definition of a radio single. If you were to throw this track into a game of “which one of these things doesn’t belong” with a bunch of current radio singles, the game would be nearly impossible. Throughout the EP, Quiet Corral continues to introduce unexpected elements, such as delay guitars. The fourth track on the Ep, “Carmen’s Bizet” begins with a delay guitar riff, reminiscent of U2. Brilliantly, the dance beat kicks in. Altrenating between dancey and driving, this song builds to a dramatic conclusion that feels like a high speed chase on horseback through the Sahara. Each song carries a different dynamic; hopeful, frightened and joyous are just a few of the emotions that Quiet Corral reaches throughout duration of the EP. At times, Jesse’s vocals sound as if to be haunted by the ghost of Don Mclean. Quiet Corral concludes the EP with a time signature change into a slow, quiet waltz, demonstrating their mastery of both texture and song structure.

Each member of Quiet Corral seems to know exactly what their role in the band entails. Never once during the EP did I think the extremely layered texture was unwarranted or excessive. The rythm section is never overpowering yet still very intriguing. Beautiful harmonies, dramatic builds and catchy choruses are definitive staples of the group. However, by no means do these elements tether them to the ground. I can only assume that Quiet Corral’s next release will continue progress, incorporating unpredictable elements to keep listeners on their toes. Until then, have a listen to their self titled debut. Experience the control of Quiet Corral.

-Nicholas Stahl




Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 20 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more.

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