QWAS - "The Oneiric"
(Hog River Music 2004, HRM-98392)

From Aural Innovations #30 (February 2005)

Qwas are a duo comprised of Nicholas A. Sibicky and Melanie Curcio. Both are finishing degrees at The Hartt School of Music in Hartford, CT, and as I read over their bio I am informed that they are the 'Something new' that we have all been waiting for. They say that they are inventing New Music, and have a unique sound that is entirely their own, hmm, interesting. But is it true?

One word, NO. And as I listen, I hear music that has been done by a thousand and one people, and it really is nothing new, which I must add, I wanted it so much to be. I wonder if these two have actually heard Hawkwind, Tangerine Dream, or other pioneers to really know what invention is all about, or had a psychedelic experience to know what music is really about? Nicholas plays and composes all of the music on this recording to a level expected of his degree. It is all too nice as I find with most students of music, being taught to a format, with really not a lot of room for creativity. But it is good to see that Nicholas is experimenting and creating, using his music knowledge, rather as a tool to try things, or improvise slightly rather than conforming to the patterns of classical music and other vastly taught pieces.

Their music stirs certain drum & bass ambient textures at times which offers something, but I dislike drum & bass so find them all poor, considering the vast world of that music. Bands like Portishead, Massive Attack, and Lamb all do much better stuff, more earthy, emotional and thought provoking. So in reality most of this CD is what I would term bland, even though it has many moments of nice journey synth stuff, but to me they are short and not really journeying, rather dabbling. I felt that the tracks could have maybe joined together more often, rather than each one stopping. But if you're bound for stardom this just does not work!

Melanie's vocals soar over the soft chord sweeps, with possibly things to say, but possibly over done also. Every track has vocals, which range in style and sound from Kate Bush to Celine 'Pile of Shit' Dion'. And it could be said that in places it sounds pop idol stuff! You can tell that she is Vocal Performer only. Not my cup of tea at all really. I could go further to criticise but I won't and I will give you a few pluses. It is very well done. The sound, playing skills and the singing are all first class stuff. They have passion and a heart, and they convey originality to a certain extent, and could definitely progress further with age and experience as they are both around 20 - 21 years old so there is time to produce more stuff and further create and experiment. Because is this not what music is about? So I have no qualms with their skills. However, I just do not like this type of stuff. Not when there are bands who do it 100% more earthy sounding, with spirit rather than bland, and I don't even like what they do. So it really is the music style that bores my kegs….

For more information you can visit the QWAS web site at: http://www.qwasband.com.
Email at: nick@qwasband.com.
Contact via snail mail c/o QWAS; 24 Park Place #7D; Hartford, CT 06106.

Reviewed by Albert Pollard

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