HeaveMedia – The Qualia “Secret Weapon” (2010)

The Qualia Lulls Listeners Into Alternate Consciousness
The Qualia’s second release is uninspiring.
By: Mike Stern

How did we ever function without Wikipedia? According to the ultimate resource on everything the word Qualia is a term used by philosophers to describe the subjective quality of conscious experiences. It is not, as I had initially suspected, a renegade society discovered by Captain Kirk and the Starship Enterprise. Examples of qualia are things like, “the pain of a headache,” “the taste of wine,” or “the redness of an evening sky.”

Ironically, while listening to The Qualia’s new release “Secret Weapons” – which I did prior to looking up the word’s definition – I was left without many words to describe my conscious experience. It wasn’t painful nor was it scintillating exciting or even salty. In fact, to my ears, there was very little that stood out about The Qualia’s new release. The song structure, lyrics and production were fine but nothing really jumped out and grabbed me. If I had to pick a word to describe my qualia of listening to The Qualia it would be flat.

This is only the second release for the Brooklyn-based trio whose first effort, “Nevada’s Greatest,” emerged primarily from the mind of Lars Casteen who finished the record then formed the band. Before that Casteen was the leader of the band t.o.t.s. which was signed to Invisible Records. The current incarnation of the Qualia includes Casteen along with Chvad SB on keyboards and Rossen Nedelchev on drums.

For a sophomore release, where many bands hit the creativity wall head-on and are stopped in their tracks, “Secret Weapons” isn’t bad. It’s just not great either. The best track on the record is the single, “Station Wagons,” which has a unique, quirky structure reminiscent that might be found on a Weezer CD. There are a couple other tracks in this vein but none that are particularly noteworthy.

Unfortunately, overall “Secret Weapons” isn’t that exciting and I’m hard pressed to suggest running out to grab a copy. Instead, I recommend following one of two possible courses of action. You could listen to “Station Wagons,” which is available on iTunes along with a few exclusive remixes, and see what you think. But, even if you like what you hear, proceed with caution. Not every song on the record will live up to the single. Or file The Qualia away under bands with great potential and wait until their next release to see where they go from here.

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