Pumice Quo

Thank goodness for the madmen in the wilderness. Those probably wildly bearded fellows who, despite living in outposts where modern music apparently seldom reaches, choose to mangle guitars and bash drums in hopes of approximating its forms. Stefan Neville is Australia’s entry in this outsider art sweepstakes. Quo finds him still saturating the quarter-inch eight-track with insect chatter, having unearthed some rudimentary keyboards to occasionally buffer his strings and skins cacophony. While Pebbles, his last release on Soft Abuse, shot out into the cosmos in all directions, these songs tend to turn more inwards in controlled bursts. Gentle moments like the unexpectedly acoustic "Sick Bay Duvet” dot the scorched earth. Fans of overdrive will find their fix in "Fort” and "Battersby,” which sound like a bag of early SST cassettes found melting in the desert. Weirdly, the only quibble about Quo is how it nears the edges of sophistication, sounding a little more ordinary as a result. We don’t like it when our sheep dung sculptors get their hands on marble. (Soft Abuse)