by Rachel Brame –
My epic weekend road trip (1800 miles from Tampa to Ashburn, VA and back) to snag a hard copy right after Quit Or Die officially came out was worth every ounce of lost sleep and 32 hours of driving. Their shit is THAT GOOD! On top of it all, they played 3 solid hours at the Lost Rhino Retreat blasting through everything new and dove deep into their catalogue of original songs. I am not crazy nor alone, and it’s been a real privilege to meet other pranksters out there who also ‘go the distance’ to see their shows. They plant a bug in the ears of ALL their fans across the country. Needless to say, I took time to absorb this latest assembly of songs and spun it on heavy rotation the whole ride home.
I cannot say enough about the production quality of this record; People’s Blues of Richmond rips into 12 track and 41 minutes of glorious uproar! Quit or Die is their 3rd endeavor and with each new release, they just keep getting better and better. Tim Beavers II, Matthew Volkes, and Nekoro Williams pack a punch and show off their incredible synergy on this one. Transitions between tracks are remarkably smooth. Each song is distinct but the careful curation makes their flow a seamless cohesive package. To describe their overall sound to anyone unfamiliar: think about the Black Keys crunchy blues and blend it with Hendrix and Led Zeppelin turned up to 11. Matthew’s bass playing is raging, raw, and heavy through and through. Nekoro’s drumming on every track is solid and on point; beginning to end he’s a surging bundle of energy! Tim absolutely shreds it on lead guitar. His lyrical wanderings are in the vein of Dylan and Cash successfully weaving the art of emotive autobiographical storytelling and wrapping it all in surreal imagery. Despite all Quit or Die’s beautiful noise and chaotic psychedelia, a larger message stands out: one of perseverance and resilience despite everyone’s continuous turbulent ride through life. It’s all about the facets of their life on the road, their struggles, their hopes and their fears. It says something when you can capture people’s hearts and minds by bearing your soul. That’s what this album encapsulates and what PBR does in every live performance.
It’s been truly amazing to see their new set of songs develop and evolve over time and as they travel on the road. Tim’s low-fi video post of “Burning an Oak Tree” gave the world a peek of its earliest incarnation and it’s been incredibly fantastic seeing it refined through multiple live shows into the soaring power ballad it is. The title track on Quit or Die is also particularly full of sick guitar noodling. Nekoro lays down a nice reggae back beat to accent the “The House on Oregon Hill” and Matthew’s infectious bass permeates its rhythm. “Never Enough” unleashes a force of pent-up frustration and is relatable to just about anyone who’s lived paycheck to paycheck. “All The Things (I Couldn’t Say to You)” is hands down the most badass song in ¾ I’ve ever heard, its eerie carnival-esque waltz tempo is quite infectious. All in all, it’s a shot of adrenaline to anyone’s ears. Perhaps this album should come with a disclaimer: it is highly addictive, but in this case, it’s a spectacular thing to indulge in.