It’s hard to determine just where to go with a third album. For bands concerned with making pop hits, albums never seem to matter, but for rock groups, honing in on a refined and artistically crafted discography can make or break your group’s trajectory. In the historic case of the Beatles, for instance, album number three was a little work of art called A Hard Day’s Night, maybe you’ve heard of it. Other knockout third albums that completely redefined the bands behind them come from My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade, and The Smiths’ The Queen is Dead. A lot is riding on the art of the third album, arguably more so than the second album and the so-called sophomore slump. For Milan-based rock group Quarry, this meant the pressure was on for their third album Positioning the Sun.
Written from a time when the pandemic was at its height over two years to when the Ukraine crisis was in full swing, there was a lot of external weight being put upon Quarry — diamonds don’t come from coal simply by hoping and gentle nudging, though, and the dire outer pressures of the world have seemingly come down hard on the band, shaping arguably their best album to date. Positioning the Sun is a knockout rock album with plenty of influences and original drive working in tandem to create an album, unlike anything the rest of 2022 has seen. With its eleven tracks, and each song functioning entirely as a breath of fresh air in regards to the album’s musical DNA, there’s not a lot of time to leave audiences with the potential to get bored.
“Beyond Any Sense” is a perfect opening track as its 1970s inhibitions bring newcomers into the world of Quarry without hesitation. The tone on the guitar and the vocals transport listeners into the mindset of Jefferson Starship, and it’s entirely likely that this is the best track on the album — thankfully, every track is as good as “Beyond Any Sense” and the album is off to the races for the next forty minutes. “This Is the Story” is a heartfelt, softer follow-up track that feels like the perfect comedown before the storm. Other tracks that stand out are the inimitable “Kick the Void Outside,” with its crystalline bass lines and dance-worthy drums, “Breathe the Stars” with its jazzy inhibitions and contained chaos at the mercy of a piano, and the knockout album closer “Flash of Lightning.” There’s not a single bad track to be had from Quarry, though, and each listener will undoubtedly come away with a new favorite.
For an album that tackles a wide variety of sounds and colors, Positioning the Sun covers quite a lot of ground. It’s a worthy third album for Quarry, and it gives listeners plenty of material to come back to in future listens. At its core, Positioning the Sun is a classic rock album, but the deep breadth of influences, experimental compositions, and major leaps taken within its eleven tracks allow the album to be so much more. Therein lies Quarry’s ultimate success.