Transgressor (Modern Outsider)
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Feb. 20, 2015
Quiet CompanyTransgressor (Modern Outsider)
Quiet Company's We Are All Where We Belong in 2011 broke out on multiple fronts. The LP stacked up 10 major Austin Music Awards – including Band of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year – which then snowballed into national attention. The disc also chronicled a crisis of deeply entrenched faith by frontman Taylor Muse, who took home Musician of the Year honors, Best Male Vocals, and Best Songwriter that year, as he found his voice with earnest introspection and buoyant melodies. If the band had finally found where it belongs, then the local quartet's fourth full-length daringly moves them forward into new territory. Atop an unabashed pop urgency that eschews the drama and catharsis of the band's previous build-and-release formula, Transgressor delivers pure climax, aggressive in a way that allows Muse's deft lyrical turns to resound. "Make peace with all your demons when you just don't have the strength to cast 'em out," he proclaims on opener "Seven Hells," harnessing doubt into power. The driving percussion of "The Most Dangerous Game" and gritty guitars in "Mother of a Deal" pulse energetic without overpowering the pop sensibilities. "Kindness" and "Wherever You Take Me" sway easily under Muse's soft tenor – Death Cab meets Ben Folds – but the synth-raked "I Heard the Devil Say My Name" and string-embossed crescendo of closer "Midnight at the Dairy Palace" erupt with joyful noise. Quiet Company arrived on We Are All Where We Belong, and with Transgressor they make themselves right at home.