Total Disarray is the sophomore LP from Quaker Wedding, a three-piece outfit from New York City. If you scroll back in the CPRW archives far enough, you’ll see that I ranked their debut record, In Transit, as my 3rd favorite album of 2020, so when Marco (who runs Salinas Records and is the frontman for Quaker Wedding) sent me the link to the new songs, I was beyond stoked to check them out. Of course, even though I totally meant to write it up ahead of time, I waited until the vinyl came in the mail, because spinning it in my living room is always a better experience than with my headphones on a laptop.
Although Quaker Wedding released “Russian Hill” as a 7” single last year (by the way “Running List”, also made the tracklist), “Vintage Dress” is the song that was given the music video treatment and leads off the record. It sets the lyrical tone for the album, with palm muted verses leading to a crashing chorus about a dissolved relationship. Looking at the lyric sheet, it reads like a diary, and lines like “when you left it / you left me to be the one / to throw your dress out in the trash” had me speechless when I first heard them.
Like their debut, the album art on Total Disarray hints at the band’s relationship with location (faded photos of mostly desolate cityscapes with images of maps around the edges), and they hash out that relationship out in songs like “Woodbridge” and “A New York Minute”. The former is a burst of anger-fueled energy about all the things you hate about where you live driving you crazy, while the latter is a bittersweet number about knowing “how it feels to be a ghost / to haunt the place I love / without the people I miss most”.
The sequencing on Total Disarray is perfect, as they hit the listener with the best three-song leadoff I’ve heard from any album this year (I know it’s early, I’m just setting the bar here), and after slowing it down with tracks like the wistful “Staten Island Ferry” and the darker, moody “In And Of Itself”, they close with the one-two punch of the aforementioned “Russian Hill” and “Hurricane”.
The comparisons I’ve seen online to Jawbreaker are apt, as “Russian Hill” sounds like a bop that could’ve been from the 24 Hour Revenge Therapy sessions and is one of the brighter tunes on Total Disarray. Conversely, “In And Of Itself” has a (at least to my ears) Dear You kind of vibe. More than anything, both bands play heavy punk songs with impeccable lyrics, and if that’s what you’re into, Quaker Wedding has 10 fresh tracks that you should really dig.
Songs to check out: “Vintage Dress”, “Woodbridge”, “Running List”, “Russian Hill”.
Stream and download Total Disarray on Bandcamp.
This review was written by Marcus Pond.