Based in Chicago, Illinois, the folk-pop band and singer-songwriters The Q's release a thorough 9-track album bound to put you in a trance entitled 'Us Who Know.'
Comprised of Deb Duncan and Kayla Quiros, the married couple and artistic duo never fail to sweep listeners off their feet with their feel-good instrumentation and meaningful lyricism. Listeners can fully experience the duo's heartfelt songs within their latest 9-track album, 'Us Who Know.'
Starting our venture into the album, we're met with the introductory track, "Intro," which opens like a breath of fresh air with a warm and tender acoustic guitar. As Kayla Quiros and Deb Duncan make their vocal appearance, they bring us to our knees with their magnificent harmonies and delicate vocals. As the acoustic song continues, The Q's deliver a beautiful sonic landscape while wishing to be taken away from a place so dull and dreadful. We're incredibly excited to delve deeper into this album, as we can tell that The Q's have placed their entire heart and soul into this thorough and passionate project.
Moving onto the second track, "Only Us Who Know," The Q's open the song with more of a nod to country music with a thumping kick drum, twangy acoustic guitars, and lush background strings. As The Q's begin to harmonize their brilliant vocal stylings while leading us into a melodic trance, they dive into lyrics that expand on how they are each other's best-kept secret. We can't help but feel that this song reflects the journey of their love, as they've come a long way and can now be proud of the relationship they've firmly planted under their feet.
Getting groovy with the third track, "Turn Me Out," the song opens with a punchy and upbeat drum arrangement, a blazing bassline, and The Q's fluid vocal arrangements. As they bring us into the song's sweltering atmosphere right off the bat, The Q's continue to encourage listeners to get on their feet and onto the dancefloor. With the addition of more soothing string sections and a bright acoustic guitar melody, The Q's keep grooving the night away until the very last beat. Not to mention Deb Duncan and Kayla Quiros' incredible vocal abilities; the two vocalists truly offer an overwhelming amount of talent.
Moving onto the soothing and lighthearted track, "Just For You," the song opens with a bright ukulele arrangement accompanied by The Q's harmonious vocal stylings that set the song's tender and heartfelt tone. We adore the versatility of this project thus far, as it perfectly complements and honors the peaks and valleys of falling in love with someone special. As the song continues sweeping us off our feet with each calming and placid element, we're left in a dreamy daze with each heartfelt detail and earworm melody. As The Q's lead us towards the outro with their heavenly vocals, the song comes to a tender close.
Reaching the album's halfway point with "Run," this song opens with more of a haunting and chilling tone through a ghostly string section, slow acoustic guitar melodies, and The Q's mesmerizing vocal harmonies. As they begin describing scenes of the water rising and feeling suffocated by the world around them, they slowly whisper, "Run," which sends vast chills down our spines. We can't help but think that this type of music is timeless, as it complements trailblazers like Fleetwood Mac while also fueling the atmosphere with modern twists and turns. Not to mention the addition of a chilling bassline and a powerful outro, this track definitely stands out as our favorite.
Landing on more of an introspective and reflective track, "First Nice Day and I Didn't Go Outside," the song opens with a haunting acoustic guitar intro alongside The Q's chilling vocal harmonies. As they begin singing about thinking of someone and getting high to pass the day, the song later transitions into a heavy upbeat song with quick drum breaks and short guitar pulses. As The Q's bring us to our knees once again with their descriptive lyricism and chilling vocals, they lead us towards the beaming outro with their brilliant transitions and rhythmic vocals that leave us chanting their lively lyrics from beginning to end.
Another heartfelt and tender love song comes knocking at our doors with the 7th track, "Claim My Soul," as The Q's open the piece with a sweet sample of them saying, "I love you." Overtop of gentle acoustic guitar picking, The Q's harmonize their magnetic vocals once again and ask each other to claim their souls for all of eternity. This type of love that The Q's deliver throughout this album is straight out of a fairytale, as they continue to pull back layers of their relationship that exposes the pure and endearing love that we all seek. We're head over heels for this ballad, as it truly brings a tear to the eye.
Getting into more of a country-folk groove with the next song, "The Promised Land," the song begins with a twangy acoustic guitar picking its way to our hearts alongside The Q's brilliant vocal harmonies and equally chilling background vocals. As the beat drops, The Q's groove through the track with the utmost energy and vitality, giving thanks to their love and feeling excited to take on the future with each other. We can't help but tap our feet to the savory beat of this single, especially as The Q's and their rhythmic vocal stylings keep the song alive and well from top to bottom.
Closing the album off with the sweet-sounding outro track, "Lake Michigan," the piece opens with a serene piano melody and a chilling string section. As The Q's begin to describe the moment they met and how far they've come, they pour an intense bounty of reflection over their audience while leaving us yearning for a tender and unique love like theirs. All we have to say is wow, as The Q's send us off on another dreamy listening experience that's as cinematic as it is romantic. As they close off the album with words like "baby, I'm yours," the project ends, and we're left feeling as refreshed as ever.
Don't miss out on the entire passionate and cinematic listening experience of The Q's 9-track album, 'Us Who Know,' available on all digital streaming platforms.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, The Q's. We are wildly impressed with the heart and emotion you've placed into your 9-track album, 'Us Who Know.' What inspired you to create an album based on your relationship?
We’ve always wanted to tell our story one way or another, it just took us a long time to realize that it should be told through music. Generally, we’ve just been a cover band with just us and a guitar but once we decided to start writing an album (which was supposed to only be a 4-song EP), it just grew into this much bigger thing. We didn’t realize how much we had to say about what we’ve been through over the past 13 years and we’re so happy with the end result. It feels like we told our story as honestly as we could have.
Did you work with any session musicians, vocalists, or producers when creating the entire album, 'Us Who Know?'
Everyone you hear on the album is our friends. It was made in the thick of the pandemic so no one actually played together all at once. The band would come in one at a time, improvise whatever they were inspired to play and that’s what you hear today. We wanted it to be an extremely organic and collaborative experience. The album was produced by one of our best friends, Chas Lilly. We know each other through the Chicago improv community so none of us actually knew how this very earnest project would go. It ended up being one of the best weeks of our lives. It created a very special bond between us- especially during the pandemic when social interaction was so slim.
When creating the instrumentals within your album, 'Us Who Know,' what inspired the many transitions and switch-ups? Why did you want to incorporate these exciting sonic changes?
We listen to a ton of different music and even though it wasn’t originally our intention to have so many genres on the album, we’re so stoked with how dynamic it ended up being. Each song is sort of an homage to all of our favorite artists. Also, with the album being a narrative, it lent itself well to the story we were telling. Each song essentially describes the emotion we were feeling at the moment and the instrumentals reflect that as well. We also have to thank Chas for urging us to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. For example, we had no desire to write a dance track but he saw a vision and it solidified our trust in him. The result was Turn Me Out and it happens to be one of our favorites!
Is there a track within 'Us Who Know' that's the most personal to you? Why would that be?
Our favorite tracks are actually the same two songs and they’re Run and Claim My Soul. Those are going to be our babies forever. Both were written with a very specific headspace in mind and it brought up a lot of decade-old feelings. We were outed and forced apart by my family when we were 17 and we literally had a car chase with my parents trying to run away from them. It’s wild to think about because so much time has passed and our families are great now but it brought up a lot of bad memories. We lived Run and it was scary as fuck.
Even after all of the horrible stuff, we went through, we couldn’t stay away from each other. To this day, even after all this time, we’re each other's best friends and couldn’t give the other one up if we tried. When you find your person so young, the chances of you growing together are so rare. Following the aftermath of all of our high school trauma, we stayed in town for college, moved out of our family homes, and were horrible to each other. We always say we don’t know how we stayed together from ages 19-21. But we’re so glad we did because what was on the other side was the most beautiful love of our lives. Claim My Soul was when we realized the other person was worth the work.
What do you want your listeners and audience to take away from the nine tracks within 'Us Who Know'? What did you want them to feel and experience?
A friend of ours just told us that listening to the album brought up a lot of feelings she had as a queer teenager and that was a cool realization. We wanted to share a love story, yes, but more specifically a queer love story. It’s a specific feeling that many people have felt but few make music about. Ultimately, we want everyone to feel joy. Though the album is emotionally all over the place, it’s a happy ending, and that's what the album as a whole celebrates. It was made with love and if that’s the main takeaway, we did our job.