Mark Nathan and Robert Wesley formed the quartette called Quiet Science in 2008. In May of last year, the band released the He Calls Me Diamonds EP which was a short collection of four indie-rock songs. Not even a year later, the band is back with their independent, full-length project, [With/Without], which includes the previously released music along with nine new tracks.
Quiet Science's style of music is very similar to that of Until June and thus Coldplay. Although the band’s melodies are very accessible, there is some occasional indie flair mixed among the alt-rock. For example, the opening song “In The Company Of Thieves” could almost be compared to Edison Glass, while “Brilliant" also has an indie influence as well. Aside from lead-vocalist Mark Nathan’s high-pitched vocals, the pop/rock beat of “Magnetize” is reminiscent of Sherwood.
Also, electronic enhancements laced throughout the album may give the listener a small sense of Joy Electric. Though the techno influence is largely limited to background music, the effect is significant in expanding the quality of each song. The echoic pop sound of “Gypsy Flowers” relies heavily on buoyant electronic effects to make an otherwise uninteresting song memorable. “Queen Elizabeth” is one of the highlights thanks to its infectious, upbeat, alt pop/rock tune as it represents the smooth, easy-going, rock sound of [With/Without] excellently.
The joy of the album never really stops as it avoids uniformity issues and throws many pivotal moments. From the surprisingly bold bridge of the more ordinary “Arcadia” to the emotionally moving ballad “Cumulus (+Pistis),” the album never really missteps. Even the end of the cheesy sounding finale, “Sore,” recovers and finishes the project on a positive note.
With the exception of “Beaming,” Quiet Science steers clear of lyrical clichés and predictability. “In The Company Of Thieves” goes after our failure as believers to do our duty (“we are the lights on the hill/have we dug ourselves to deep/we were to pray in the garden but instead we have fallen asleep”), while “Magnetize” is simpler in that it plainly states the singer's need for God. Throughout the mostly intricate lyrics lie themes about waiting for the return of Christ (“Sore”), our worth to God (“The Last Satellite”), and His still moving hand (“Cumulus (+Pistis)”).
When an album like [With/Without] comes along, it makes me wonder how many great independent artists fly under the radar unnoticed. With their remarkably compelling music and lyrics, Quiet Science has crafted one of the most complete albums I have heard in a bit. Hopefully it won’t take long for this band to accumulate attention and release more music.
- Review date: 5/2/10, written by Nathaniel Schexnayder of Jesusfreakhideout.com