This is a review of "Mars / The Great Catsby" recorded by Quack Quack. The review was written by Paul Elam in 2006.
This EP of Quack Quack’s is something of a schizophrenic: it’s a little piece of black vinyl that can’t decide whether it’s the fey darling of the underground scene… or if it has really inherited the coal black experimental heart of Kid A. On the one hand. On the other, it’s your Gran and Brian Potter’s favourite club organist kicking out the jams with the precocious neighbourhood jazz-punk electro kids. On the other hand…
…It’s the kind of formula I can turnaround and swear I’ve heard a million times before on late night radio (i.e. John Peel), dismiss it all as harmless good fun and carry on my merry way. But when I actually think about it, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anything like this before. Ever. Quack Quack are one of those bands who I fear are doomed by their own inventiveness – we live in a world where blatant musical plagiarism is applauded as though we’d just witnessed man land on the moon for the first time, yet a band like this who manage to carefully and subtly shape a range of seemingly tangential influences in to what is genuinely exciting yet can get brushed off in an instant. Yeah, it’s patchy in places and parts of The Great Catsby (including the name) can grate by being a little too self conscious… but it makes you smile, it makes you think, it makes you want to listen to it again and again and again and again and again and again. It may be my abysmal musical knowledge talking here, but I get the distinct impression that we’ve not heard this all before, and that my initial feeling is nothing more than disregarding something I don’t entirely understand.
Even if I’m wrong about all this I’m not sure I care. These two odd little snippets of leftfield pop (especially the more sinister big brother Mars) are off the beaten track as far as these things tend to go and do oh so well for being blissfully unaware of this fact. And your Gran would like the organ playing too.