Fusing progressive rock and futurist themes with ambient melodies, a punky edge and elements of electronica, the music of London duo Quantum Pig is full of intrigue.
Like all the best bands and some of the best friendships, the duo of Ian Faragher and Mark Stevenson met in a pub. They soon bonded over a shared love of all things prog then, one drunken New Year’s Eve, Ian played Mark a few rough prog sketches he’d been working on and the foundations of the band were set in motion.
Mark was suitability inspired to want to work on them, and those initial ideas became what we now know as Songs of Industry and Sunshine, their debut album that was released in February.
The realisation of those ideas is an intriguing proposition that the band summarise as: “Loud, aggressive progressive rock, we acknowledge the prog bands of the past but add a contemporary edge. Good songwriting comes first though, so the album is chock full of singalong melodies and choruses all glued together by strong lyrical hooks.”
Add to the mix that Mark works as a futurist – and a highly respected one at that, check out his website here – and you begin to understand the deep intrigue that surrounds the duo. As they explain: “Mark’s day job as a futurist informs the subjects we write about. The album is about the transition of where we are now as a species to where we need to be in the future.
“Be-it the end of the fossil fuel era and the need to embrace new power sources on the album opener Statement of Intent, or humankind’s need to explore beyond our current horizons on Long Letter Home. We pick big themes and write big songs about them. It’s a very forward-looking, optimistic album.”
It begins with the delicious meandering guitar solo that introduces Statement of Intent, then drops into drawn-out guitars and chugging guitar chords under engaging vocals. It bursts into a singalong chorus “Is this the sum total of all that we’ve dreamt, Come ring the changes, Let’s have a statement of intent, Our engines should be the whole of the sky, ‘Cos digging that dirt’s… A century out of time.”
That’s an impressive opening but Citizen and State is very much a high points of the album. Repeating synth noises continue guitars that kick into a big rocky chords then fun delivery of shouty/spoken vocals before another hit of guitars and the spinning synth. A catchy chorus takes over, then gives way to another edgy verse.
That’s followed by 12-minute-long marathon track Long Letter Home, which begins with synth noises, stabs of violins and a laid-back chorus. While The Shadows We Miss offers up delicious vocal harmonies over repeating acoustic guitar and an atmospheric backdrop. An organ jumps in for a solo mid-way through before a guitar takes on the duties with a delightful drawn-out solo that welcomes in a key change as things take a more sinister turn. Check it out below:
Keep The Nation Warm has a bit of a “laid-back Feeder” vibe about it – actually, the more I listen to the band the more I think “it sounds a bit Feedery” – with light guitars under the floaty vocals. And the album closes with the delicious Dirty Old Engine, on which echoey vocals are supported by an atmospheric piano support.
Songs of Industry and Sunshine is an intriguing effort that keeps you on your toes and jumps between beautiful melodies and rocky goodness. On the album, they told us: “We are thoroughly excited that the album is coming out soon, it’s been a total thrill to work with Chris and John (White Star Records head honchos) on the release.
“You can expect a bunch of well-crafted songs, thoughtful lyrics, loads of loud guitars and some incredible drumming (thanks to Craig Blundell). When we were making the album we didn’t know if anyone would be interested in releasing it, we can’t wait to see what people make of it.”
Musically, the duo are influenced by the classic prog bands of times gone by, with the likes of Rush, Queen and Pink Floyd being their biggest influences. But Ian’s writing also brings in his love for the loud, aggressive music like Husker Du and Sonic Youth.
Don’t expect to hear too much from the chaps soon as Mark has baby number two restricting their live music opportunities. However, they’ve already written most of their second album and hope to start recording it soon.
As the band tell us: “We never planned for this music to be heard by anyone really. We created it purely for ourselves, for the love of progressive music and to have a good time making it. However, it all started to get wonderfully out of control, ending up with John and Chris signing us. It’s been a fantastic journey so far and we can’t wait to see where this Pig is headed…”