Intro piece The Fire effectively establishes both the stripped back sonic direction and the gripping narrative set to define this record. Now settled in, the group proceed on with Will I Remember To Remember, and it’s here that we truly get to see long-time backing vocalist Kadesha take centre stage with flying colours, donning the role of the story’s key figure Willow through her stunningly luscious voice.
The lyrics continue to gain strength in the brief My New Foster Parents, where the multi-layered instrumentals form a sensationally infusing sound, but suddenly they venture into a different path with No Friends Just Visions, opting for a mood less warm and graceful and more jazzy through a smooth and juicy rhythm tagged by splendid bass chords, light guitar grooves and spurts of sax.
Her Love Interest hops along cheerfully, and serves as a firm contrast to the more low-key sibling track His Love Interest. The Future has a terrific blend of acoustics, piano keys and pure-quality accompanying harmonies, and those qualities bleed over into I, Robot, albeit at a solemn pitch with a nice extra furnishing of brass.
The writing of The Ballad Of Loss And Self-Doubt is amongst the most engaging yet, with Kadesha undoubtedly enforcing that element, then cleverly implementing various themes relating to technology in Domestic Appliances, most notably, of all things, the Whirlpool Corporation’s notorious history of faulty white goods; something I never ever thought would make it into a song, but that’s Quiet Marauder for you.
Mastering My Powers has a pleasing flowing melody, Infinite Versions makes a big splash within a miniature timeframe, Let’s Run Into The Flames Together emanates a bittersweet tone in the content in-between the upbeat nature of the music, and the curtain call Extinguished ends things on a firmly thoughtful and powerful note that has you sitting hypnotically as you absorb the record’s final moments.
The Cardiff troupe made a huge first impression on myself when I was introduced to them via their supreme and humorous Tiny Men Parts EP, which subsequently made my best of 2020 list. So when given the opportunity to look at this album, I was admittedly expecting more of the same, but oh my, was I taken aback here.
The Gift is a fantastic release on two accounts; of course, as a collection of top-notch tunes with lasting entertainment value, but more importantly, as a ravishing, fixating tale that sucks you in and doesn’t let go, getting you contemplating and thinking and opening yourself up to the deep meanings behind the words and the overarching plot.
Quiet Marauder are more than just another fabulous act in the Welsh scene, they have proven to be a heck of a fresh and creative tour de force who stand head and shoulders above the crowd.