Quilt: ‘Held In Splendor’ A Comforting Patchwork Of Sixties Pop

For the past few months I’ve had Quilt’s music spinning around in my crappy white earbuds. The band’s delicate but enveloping songs have been a calming force when those commutes feel extra long, when the overloaded trains and sidewalks feed claustrophobia, and when I just want to escape. It may sound hokey, but then, it’s right there in the name.

Like its cute namesake implies, Quilt’s music is a deeply layered patchwork: There’s hints of Eastern rhythms, gauzy pop, and traditional folk music. But mostly, the Boston band’s songs lean on the strains of 1960’s psychedelic rock and folk; there’s touches of The Byrds, Skip Spence, The Zombies, or the Mamas and the Papas. It’s a comparison I’m sure the band’s members — Anna Fox Rochinski, Shane Butler, and John Andrews — get tired of being tied to, but with these sorts of musical references that obvious (and well-executed) how can you not to be transported to that West Coast, Summer of Love folk-pop era?

After a very fine 2011 debut, Quilt has just released its follow-up, Held In Splendor, an album recorded last spring at Mexican Summer’s studio in Brooklyn. Listening to colorful songs like “Arctic Shark” or “Tie Up The Tides,” it’s easy to hear that transition to warmer weather; this is lovely music that blossoms with wind-swept orchestral flourishes and evocative vocal harmonies.

But the true highlight of Quilt is how each song feels like three songs in one, seamlessly stitched together to make these multi-part suites — all in three minutes. There’s a playful interplay between the vocal melodies and the guitar lines, and the little instrumental interludes that show a linear momentum, as if they were the result of improvisation. Ultimately, Held In Splendor creates a dreamy but familiar musical world; one you’ll find yourself turning to for comfort time and again.


Hear Quilt play on WNYC’s Soundcheck.