Quality Living - Something Softly Caught Me
On March 13, New Jersey’s Quality Living released its sophomore record Something Softly Caught Me via Sniffling Indie Kids. Spanning 11 tracks of yacht rock flirtation cut with jazzy nerdities and a 90s-indie looseness, Quality Living’s colorful groove is a friendly look for 2020’s beach jam playlists, but simmering just beneath that sunny disposition is a resoundingly introspective bout with anxiety, self-control, and redemption.
Something Softly Caught Me arrives at a crossroads in Quality Living’s story, throughout which they’ve released a self-titled full-length (2016) and a trickle of singles. Those tracks, particularly “Oh No” and “Alcohol Store,” helped endear them to audiences seeking breezy, winsome summer tunes, in a time marked by fluidity in their lineup. Eventually, in late summer of 2018 and the year that followed–while increasingly tangled in career changes, marriages, new homes–the band gathered their scraped-together hours and poured all they had into making what could have just as easily been a swan song as a hit of their stride.
The result bears as much polish as it has risk. If the six-piece’s disparate influences couldn’t move in unison on Something Softly Caught Me, they certainly flare up in dualities. Darrel Norrell’s vocal performances feel heart-on-sleeve but toy lyrically with nonsense; the band’s airy instrumentals grow thick and tangled. A squawking saxophone holds down a good chunk of the album’s melodic backbone of an album that occasionally touches emo-level weight. (Continue reading full bio in download folder)