Rising star Richie Quake released his sophomore EP, VOYAGER, which chronicles the pursuit of knowledge and meaningful connection in an outer space odyssey, last summer. The cohesive six-song collection appealed to a wide demographic; given the isolating nature of the past few years, the EP's message hit home with many listeners missing pre-pandemic social life. Quake combined elements of lo-fi, indie, alternative pop, and psychedelic rock to convey a full picture of the dynamic range of emotions that makes us human. VOYAGER brought feelings of love, anxiety, and understanding, sending the listener over the moon with each track.
Now, the acclaimed singer-songwriter and producer is back with single "That's Not Love!", which was released to the public today (February 16th) at 12:00 AM via Mass Appeal. Quake revealed live tour dates alongside the new release, and will be supporting Rejjie Snow from April 19 through April 30 at iconic venues across the United States. See the full tour plan below, with additional dates to be announced:
RICHIE QUAKE (US TOUR 2022) APRIL 19 - Toronto, CAN - Velvet Underground * 21 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom * 23 - Washington D.C. - Union Stage * 26 - Vancouver - Vogue Theatre * 28 - Los Angeles, CA - Echoplex * 30 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall * * = With Rejjie Snow
"That's Not Love!" opens with a bright guitar melody, which is backed by a subtle synth. The warm, almost-vintage indie effects are a staple of the Richie Quake sound, with similar tones appearing on "Afterglow" and "Sensitive". A crisp snare hit signals the start of the main groove and first verse. The twangy guitar line is replaced by a steady bass track, but the synths continue lightly, allowing the volume to drop to accommodate Quake's vocal performance without losing any of the song's original energy. In the chorus, rather than opening up the drum sounds, Quake chooses to reintroduce his clean guitar tones, adding the more cutting, higher frequency timbres back into the mix. This contrast to the deeply reverberating bass shifts the dynamics in a way that feels completely natural; although it's almost subconscious, the impact of the guitar on "That's Not Love!" demonstrates Quake's profound understanding of soundscapes and his own creative direction.
From the first chorus, the single continues to build, with strategically layered guitar and synth parts enhancing each moment until the bridge section (about three-quarters into the song), when everything drops out except the bass and a clipped, muted drum beat. With the ambient, flowing guitar and synthesizer effects highlighted throughout the majority of the song, the broken-down instrumentation of this section brings something fresh to the track, re-engaging the listener. The rhythm section locks into an especially deep pocket during the bridge; the bass and the drums both land squarely on each beat, giving the section a very polished feel. Toward the end of the single, a soulful wailing guitar solo makes the song soar to new levels, allowing it to end with a bang. The tone coming through is decked out with effects–it's consistent with the guitar interwoven throughout the tune, but with a climactic, grunge-boost twist. "That's Not Love!" ends all together, leaving only the faint, bittersweet hum of a distorted guitar amp lingering for a few seconds. On the Intersect Magazine Scale of 1-10 for sound, "That's Not Love!" receives a 9/10.
Richie Quake captures all of love's (or in this case, "Not Love"'s) confusion, unspoken frustration, tingly butterflies-in-the-stomach sensations, and so much more with his lyrics. Quake eloquently verbalizes the very relatable, very aggravating experience of giving someone your effort and attention, only for it to be unrequited on a meaningful level. The heartache of a shallow or one-sided relationship resonates clearly in Quake's vocal performance.
Gassin' up the car can't make it run/ Hangin' at a bar, but that's no fun/ You only ever call me when you're drunk/ That's not love/ That's not love
In the chorus of "That's Not Love!", Quake brings raw poeticism–a level of vulnerability rarely found in contemporary music. The lyrics of the single are a perfect example of the golden rule of writing: show don't tell. Rather than just listing his emotions, Quake gives concrete examples as to why he can't make the relationship work. Despite never explicitly telling listeners that he's lost, the artist's feelings are as clear as day, communicated through thoughtfully crafted and timed lyrics. The gentle delivery of vocals floats soothingly above the punchy nature of the lyrical content and instrumental tones; Quake's melodies are like soothing honey for a sore throat. The introspective nature of the single calls into question what love really is, with some semi-cryptic lyrics reflecting the complexity of the emotion. For these reasons, on the Intersect Magazine Scale of 1-10 for lyrics, "That's Not Love!" receives an 8.5/10.
THE ART BEHIND THE SOUND
What makes Richie Quake stand out most as an artist and producer is his mastery at fusing a multitude of different style influences to create an original, indefinable sound. His music is not quite R&B, indie alternative, psychedelic rock, or electronic pop–and yet, it's all of these things and more. Quake's sound transcends genre; types of music are blended so seamlessly that his songs both honor the best aspects of traditional genres and pave the way for future generations of musicians. With each new release, Quake pushes the limits of music as we know it, each effect, lyric, and melody full of intention and heart. On the Intersect Magazine Scale of 1-10 for the art behind the sound, "That's Not Love!" receives a 9/10.
Overall, Quake's single is a dynamic blend of electronic and recorded instrumentation, harmonious vocal and guitar melodies, and intriguing perspectives on what it really means to be in love. Based on this constant growth and experimentation, as well as his skilled musicianship, Richie Quake is definitely an artist to watch out for in the future. On the Intersect Magazine Overall Scale of 1-10, "That's Not Love!" scores an 8.8.
Check out "That's Not Love!" below and follow Richie Quake on IG for more updates. Let us know what you think.