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Nothin’ to lose

House of Quist builds a house of rock

Guthrie and Halladay Quist, the children of Montana songwriter Rob Quist, rebel against Dad’s country hits with a heavy serving of reverb and a side of head-bang. The guitars sound like early Rush or REO Speedwagon—in other words, the distortion is outdated and the solos are gratuitous. But dammit, something awesome is happening here. This is rock if Nirvana never happened. On House of Quist’s eponymous album, the band, which also includes Patrick McKenna and Troy Ricciardi, goes back in time to the days of ZZ Top strut and Fleetwood Mac harmonies. And, why not? The Seattle-based quintet recently completed a 50-state tour alongside Collective Soul, Bret Michaels and Alice Cooper, and opened for the Doobie Brothers. In other words, they’re not going for indie rock sensibilities.

The first few tracks sound like a scan of classic rock radio. The heavy but simple drumbeats drive the sharp riffs through easy structures. Guthrie’s tidal wave of a voice washes over Halladay’s as they sing, “We can save the world”—and if voices could save the world, together theirs might. The monster ballad “She Flies” shows their softer side before the album veers back to where it started. This ain’t a new sound, but it doesn’t get old fast. (Brooks Johnson)

The House of Quist plays Monk’s Bar Sat., Dec. 15, at 10 PM.

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