Quality Used Cars- Good Days/ Bad Days (Album Review)
For many artists, attempting to traverse unknown ground can be a big creative challenge that some give a thought to, but never act upon it because they are too scared or unconfident. For Frances Tait, this is not the case. Frances has been an active member of Melbourne’s rich music scene, playing in psychedelic surf rock groups, jazz bands, and blues groups. With his new project, Quality Used Cars, he conquers a new sound, and fronts a more straightforward singer/ songwriter project with Australian sensibilities with a tinge of influence from classic American country and folk music. As a fan of the acts that Quality Used Cars takes influence from, this is a very charming record, with quality songwriting and an unmatched sense of wit throughout the entirety of the project.
While good songwriting is something you can learn, great songwriting is something that a person is born with, and we get so many examples of great songwriting throughout Good Days/ Bad Days. My personal favorite example of this would have to be on the tracks ‘To Wendy Love Steve’ and ‘Ripoff Merchant’, as they are 2 high quality tracks. ‘To Wendy Love Steve’ tells the story of a man infatuated with a woman. The man, Steve, buys a Bee Gees record for his love, Wendy, and we see the progression of the man and his relationship with Wendy throughout the song. This is one of the best examples of how a song should be crafted that I have heard this year, and I love the ending to this track an awful lot.
The track ‘Ripoff Merchant’ revolves around a record store as well. The store is about to go out of business and we get to take a look at the unique characters that shop at this store. It’s a love letter to the sort of connections that are made through a shared love of music. The thing that really gets me about ‘Ripoff Merchant’ that adds to its brilliance is the callback to Steve from ‘To Wendy Love Steve’. It acts as this ribbon around the whole package, and does a lot for the listener. It’s such a clever way to connect the tracks.
Musically, we don’t get anything terribly flashy. That’s not to discredit the talented musicians, as there is great playing throughout, especially in the country guitar and harmonica departments. It doesn’t need to be anything flashy though, because the songwriting carries Good Days/ Bad Days to a different class of records. It’s the type of instrumentation that really makes you feel as if you are in a desolate place all alone by yourself, in a good way, of course.
Good Days/ Bad Days is a lesson in how to properly craft an intelligent song intended for an audience who truly respects the craft of storytelling. As the title would suggest, the band takes us through a journey of lyrical high and low moments alike, sometimes the negative emotions outpour, but there is always something good to reflect upon even when you feel the lowest. Good Days/ Bad Days is the definition of that, as Frances and his bandmates show even the darkest of moments are full of so much joy within the little details around us.
Favorite Tracks: Ripoff Merchant, To Wendy Love Steve
Least Favorite Track: It's Gonna Rain (Down On Me)
Listen to the track, Ripoff Merchant, off of the latest record from Quality Used Cars, Good Days/ Bad Days below.
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