There’s a lot to be said about the last two years. For Quarry, they took the time between 2020 and 2022 to craft an album worthy of the times, soaking up every ounce of anguish, disarray, and togetherness; coming up with something that could not only portray the worst of times without the best of times was undoubtedly a challenge, but Positioning the Sun is a critical hit of a record, so it’s safe to say they’ve achieved their mission. Of the album’s writing process, Quarry frontman says “I wanted to make an eclectic album. I started writing a sort of soundtrack to an imaginary movie. But then I realized that I was locked into my tiny home studio with this new pandemic disease bursting into planet earth, and I was writing songs about isolation, distance, separation. It was the soundtrack of that particular time.” There’s a distinct optimism to each track, and listeners will cling to each song like a life preserver with more listens.
Opening track “Beyond Any Sense” feels like a classic rock track in all the best ways; its guitar intonation and singable lyrics in the bridge and chorus give listeners something to click with, and it welcomes the audience in with a sort of concept-album bravado. The relatability of the lockdown rings true throughout the lyrics, and audiences will instantly click with what the album is offering as a result of this song. “This Is the Story,” which was the first song written for the record, showcases a different sound than “Beyond Any Sense.” Its melancholic guitar and slower pace detail a video chat between two friends, with one going into a deep depression while the other tries to lead them away from the so-called “no-go zone.”
It feels deeply tied to the lockdown, and the sharp emotion permeating the track is arguably the album’s best lyrical showcase. “New City Comes Along,” the last song written for the album, comes next and details the fallout from a bombing, written with Kyiv in mind but applicable to any bombing tragedy. The punk aesthetic gives the track a defining character that brings its message harder and faster than an acoustic ballad would.
“Kick the Void Outside” and “Dream Free Dreams” are upbeat songs musically, and their lyrics often clash with the music in ways one might not expect. The entirety of Positioning the Sun is about duality, and the balancing act we all must endure to continue throughout life, either in social settings or something much larger than ourselves. “Breathe the Stars” is a freeform track compared to the rest, as chaotic piano and bass start the song off as a guitar wails. Its almost jazz-based core shifts into something akin to Primus in the chorus, and the shift in production is an incredible move for Quarry to tackle halfway through the record. “Freedom” is a chugging track with a propulsive beat and poignant message about stealing the light from the sky and selling it back to consumers. “Merge” taps into Radiohead with its eclectic drums and guitar, and “Radio Inner World” feels indebted to Smashing Pumpkins, while “Higher Higher” feels like a late-period Modest Mouse track on steroids. The influences are worn on Quarry’s sleeve boldly, and “Flash of Lightning” closes the album out without any of them. The finale of the album is entirely Quarry’s own, and the journey it took to get to it is one worth embarking upon.