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Seven years after Quickening made its debut, it might be Northeast Ohio's most overlooked band. The Cleveland post-emo alt-rock group averages two shows a month and one release a year. Maybe the fact that the band comes with short discs rubs potential fans and benefactors the wrong way; in the fickle world of rock, more is more. That said, all four new Quickening songs are keepers.

Riffing like the big Quicksand fan that he is, singer-guitarist James Isom plays harder than ever and shows real growth as a writer. He's finally moved from delicate-boy clichés to real lyrics, as in "Did You Know" -- "To give you what you want/Is gonna cost me what I need/Take it to another level/Baby, you're the fucking devil." Maybe he's talking about an ex-girlfriend, or maybe he's talking about Cleveland. If it's the latter, we need to patch things up and be friends again.

More by D.X. Ferris

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