Hustle Monkey by Quick Wicked took me on quite a ride during my first listen. Musically and lyrically, it struck me as a complete, contemplative, yet exciting album. The Canadian band showcases its considerable musical experience with time signature variation, complex yet catchy guitar parts, and unexpected, interesting vocal phrasing. I was especially drawn in by the commanding presence of the bass guitar, often drowned out in modern recordings of the same upbeat rock style. Like Two Drops of Water is the EP’s heavy hitter; from the opening few moments I was captivated instantly by the opening riff, which then exploded into blistering lead guitar and a chugging rhythm. Later in the song, the guitar tracks make themselves just sparse enough to expose a gritty, distorted bass line that might just be one of my favorite pieces in the entire album.
Another standout was the haunting, barely-over-one-minute instrumental Blackened. This short break in the otherwise upbeat album illustrates the band’s careful arrangement abilities, with a gorgeous guitar melody and soaring, sustained high notes.
The cryptic lyrics and interesting vocal phrasing keep my attention locked in throughout the performance, delivering intriguing lines like Christ your nirvana repeats the same in the EP’s title track. On all fronts, the Ontario natives have crafted an album with story and depth, definitely worth multiple listens.