Quactus - Once a Pond, A Spine CD

Taking its cue from the classic jam bands, including the Grateful Dead, Phish, and the Allman Brothers, Quactus, since forming in 2005, has developed a diverse style that blends various genres of music. Harmonious vocals set atop changing textures and moods, mixed with subtle meter changes, intricate melodies, and a cohesive improvisational style backed by a solid rhythm section comprise the core of the Quactus sound. Yet, their jams may run the gamut from psychedelic to trance-like to ultra-funky or even heavy metal excess. In a live setting, the band never performs a show the same way twice, often including on-the-spot composition via hand signals between band members. The band is also known for throwing in a cover tune or song tease from time to time. As a result, Quactus is establishing itself as one of the most exciting new live acts in the Southern California scene.

Formed during the Spring of 2005 from an eclectic mix of gentlemen from both coasts and a little of the Midwest, Quactus came together in Los Angeles after guitarist Seth Gordon, drummer Matthew McDuffee, guitarist Gabriel Weiner, and bassist Greg Zachan had the good fortune of crossing paths with each other. The members of Quactus have over 30 years of musical and audio instruction amongst them in both private and college level courses, which has given the band a strong command of music theory, songwriting, improvisation, vocal technique and music production skills. This combined experience finally culminated in the release of the band's self-produced and recorded debut album, Once a pond, a spine, in early 2008. The album's release, along with incessant promotion via the internet, has garnered a wider following for the band outside of Southern California, including a win on Jambands.com's "New Groove of the Month" Poll for May 2008.

1 Once a Pond, a Spine... mp3 sample
2 Might Be You mp3 sample
3 Fever Boy mp3 sample
4 Van Winkle's Dream mp3 sample
5 Them mp3 sample
6 Umbrella mp3 sample
7 Poinephobe mp3 sample
8 Mine All Mine mp3 sample
9 Fantazor's Escape
10 Alligator
11 It Isn't True
12 The Journey
13 Kaivalya

Randy Ray - Jambands.com Review
Once a pond, a spine..., the debut Quactus album is an obvious pun on the commencement to many fine tales. The band wears a few influences--Phish, the Allman Brothers Band, Frank and, yes, Dweezil Zappa and Umphrey's McGee--proudly on their sleeves on numerous tracks but, what is even more impressive, is that the quartet also writes good hooks, can rawk da funkin' house and certainly show signs of what Gordon [Seth, not Mike] said about the Phish legacy, "the songs are strong pop songs on their own. They just happen to have jamming in it." The band can also PLAY. Weiner as guitar god with three sidemen would have been so easy; on the contrary, all of the band members write solid material and play quite well--improvisationally-speaking or not.

The evidence: "Might Be You," a curling hook which leads to sweet open jam terrain, "Van Winkle's Dream," a bass-driven bit of guitar wizardry written by Weiner which also evokes some cool 70s prog rock; "Umbrella," a languid tableaux written by Zachan that is also a tight yet playful nugget; "Fantazor's Escape" and "The Journey" are just plain great multi-section adventures with stories to tell, taboot. Listen to the last 80 seconds of "The Journey" and you hear a band fully confident and in control of its tempo. But it is a trio of songs, "Poinephobe" and "Mine All Mine," written by Gordon, and "Alligator," by Weiner, where the band shows a true bit of original flair as the hooks are memorable, the playing is inspired and the sections lend themselves to open-ended improvisation before the inevitable return to snakebite riffs. "Poinephobe" is the best song not written by Jack White or Luther Dickenson as the blues via the swamps of the South are explored and rendered with whiskey-blurred eyes and classic riffs. "Mine All Mine" is a mean ole ass thrasher--bravado and chutzpah sharing the stage with wicked machismo--and is a welcome bit of unapologetic hard rock--raw, dirty and shamelessly catchy. Another winner from a group to watch. Quite a few shows are on Archive.org and one can also slide onto YouTube for performance clips or quactus.com for information about the band and their debut album.

Released 2008

You May Also Like