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Quiz Show - Quiz Show (Magic Door Record Label)

3 April 2023

“The Sound of Kissing” pinged on my radar loud enough for me to realize that a new sonic force to be reckoned with had arrived. That’s a bit unfair as Quiz Show, comprised of members of such luminaries as Shudder To Think, Guided By Voices, and The Dambuilders, has been making music together since 2017. Still, this eponymous debut album will really put them on the map.

It is a collection of early singles that have now been remixed, remastered, polished, and pumped up, and as such, this is an album full of smash hits and groovy goings on. It’s an approach that worked for Carole King’s Tapestry, it’s a system that delivers the goods to significant effect here. It’s a regular record, not only posing as a best-of album but also getting away with the pretence easily.

The aforementioned “Sound of Kissing” is the opening salvo, but I shall skip past it as if I heap any more praise on the song, then it may appear that money has changed hands. But, as I said, the benchmark is high here. “Monumental Shade” is another song that blends pop poise with raw post-punk power and a memorable melody with an angular edge, “Sell The Scene” ebbs and flows with punk rock energy and garage rock abrasiveness but still manages to out-pop most pop in its addictiveness, and “The Construct” has a fantastic on/off staccato quality to it, not to mention an off-kilter, overall vibe.

Quiz Show is what pop music would have sounded like if punk had had a more significant and longer-lasting effect on modern music. It is proof that post-punk never faded but got a little intimate with pop and indie music, unlike the genre that birthed it. It is a sonic Trojan horse able to smuggle the forces of swagger, attitude, and outsiderness into the mainstream, hidden in a construct of melody and infectiousness. And, as musical coups go, this one might just work. Imagine that?

Almost Famous
Sound of Kissing