Philadelphia sludge outfit Quiet Man recently released their first single, “Set to Boil is the New Standard”, from their upcoming debut, The Starving Lesson. Quiet Man has been releasing eerie, esoteric bits of noise and drone via various social media platforms for years, but Set to Boil is their first proper studio release, tumbling onto the listener in deafening waves of thick riffs and tortured choir vocals. Previously monikered as God Root, the group manages to create a sonic soundscape that is at once vast and claustrophobic, pivoting between crashing walls of distortion and thundering percussion to yawning stretches of atmospheric tension, punctuated by dissonant electronics.
Though Philadelphia skies may finally be clear of smoke and smog, it’s hard to forget the apocalyptic, yellow-stained screen of clouds and burning red sun while listening to Set to Boil. The track could easily serve as soundtrack to the recent East Coast blanket of wildfire smoke, particularly when bellowed vocals belt out lyrics like “It hasn’t always been this way / Walled in and burning / The Earth is a crematorium.” One might feel prone to despair while listening, but an undercurrent of cautious hope seems to permeate through the softer moments; Quiet Man’s debut cover art, depicting a child’s crayon drawing of an anthropomorphic rabbit strolling beneath a bright yellow sun, might be viewed as sarcastic by a cynical viewer, but instead seems to signify that Quiet Man believe that, yes, a better world is out there.
“Set to Boil is the New Standard” is streaming on Spotify and Bandcamp. Quiet Man’s debut, The Starving Lesson, is out on July 14, 2023, via Riff Merchant Records. Catch Quiet Man live at Ortlieb’s on July 6, 2023. eventbrite.com