Review: Recovery Council - Plan-Do-Check-Act [Album]

Review: Recovery Council - Plan-Do-Check-Act [Album]

Dot Ultra Records // "Recovery Council never let their ambition get in the way of writing a catchy melody or sticky hook.."

Review   1510 Views
Last Edited by: Ffion Davies January 8th, 2013.

When discussing the creative process that goes into making their music, artists often focus on the more artistic and philosophical aspects, but for Rebeca Qualls it's the mechanical side of that process that interests her, “writing music is, in many ways, the organic distillation of thoughts, feelings, and melodies into a cohesive end product.”

The primary songwriter and vocalist/guitarist for Recovery Council (who has a background in scientific systems engineering) goes on to say that “like building a system, creating music can take a few iterations to sharpen and guide that focus into a desired result.”

This may sound slightly complex coming from someone fronting a rock band, but for all of the focus, engineering and refinement that goes into their music, Recovery Council come off more like a college-rock band who could have graced the stage of 120 Minutes than some knotty or abstract post-punk outfit. What began as a solo lo-fi space-rock project while Qualls was still a grad student has now evolved into a cohesive trio with the addition of New Jersey native Jeff Trenholm on drums and Dominican Republic-born Isidro Santos on bass in 2011.

Recovery Council's sound has also evolved from spacey lo-fi into something more raw and melodic that is indebted to everything from 90s alternative and heavy metal to hints of post-punk. But the band aren't simply molding their music after their influences so much as they are utilizing the best components of each to create their own cohesive end product, Plan-Do-Check-Act. Despite this being their third release, it's their first full-length as a band and it's evident how much Qualls benefits from the collaborative environment. Their chemistry feels fully realized throughout the album: Qualls's sharp and melodic chords are given added texture and color by Santos's fluid lead-style bass while Trenholm's precise drumming gives the music an explosive punch.

LISTEN // Recovery Council - 'Outclassed'

Qualls writes from a personal perspective that borders on confessional at times without giving in to melancholia. Her expression of struggle and disillusionment and the lessons learned from it all are given an analytical and introspective tone and her vocals are expressive and honest but never self-pitiful, even if her lyrics sound bitter or resentful at times. Over twisting bass and the buzzing warmth of the guitars on 'Outclassed', she confronts the self-consciousness of being passed over for a pretty face.

On 'Bromide' the tightly-wound interplay between Qualls' jagged chops, Santos' winding riffs and Trenholm's charging drums create a fist pumping momentum that at first, stands in contrast to the frustration expressed over hard work not paying off, “Why try when hard work doesn't get you anywhere/Why work when nobody else ever pulls their share”, that ends with the backhanded reassurance that “Somewhere some day I'll have something to show for all this useless diligence.” Yet it winds up being the perfect song for releasing pent up emotions to at the end of an ungratifying day.

Near the end of Plan-Do-Check-Act, Qualls regains her footing on the lurching, five-and-a-half plus minute lead single 'Recourse', where she seemingly puts everything into perspective, “Stop speculations in their tracks/Leave in their wake nothing but facts.” As a whole her lyrics aim to demonstrate how perseverance can be gained through enduring struggle and disillusionment, which she elaborates on in a typically refined but honest matter,“The will to accomplish something against any odds comes with highs, lows, assessments and reassessments along the journey. It’s as much about self-discovery and experience as it is about determination and improvement.” Yet for all of the complexities and introspection that have gone into their music, Recovery Council never let their ambition get in the way of writing a catchy melody or sticky hook, and with the chemistry they display on Plan-Do-Check-Act, it's possible they have even more ambitious ideas in mind for the future.

Plan-Do-Check-Act is out January 15th

  • Resolve
  • Outclassed
  • Bromide
  • Recourse

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