"I just sort of floated around, from, like, 14
on," he says. "Just...different places but basically the Bay
Area. I've been in San Francisco for 10 years."
his own since age 14? That's brutal.
"Well, I had an adoptive situation for a couple of
years, so it wasn't like I was homeless. It wasn't very restrictive at all
–– it was pretty casual." He laughs.
Since so much of You Can Have What You Want envelops like a fog, doesn't
stick its face in yours 'cause it can't even see it, it comes off like a
deliberate reaction against more hardcore music. Maybe he'd burned out on
all that at a certain point.
"Yeah, that in some ways is pretty true," he
says. "I was a skater when I was younger, and I never really related
to most of the hardcore punk things most people were listening to. In some
ways I felt like a lot of that stuff drove me to be, like, not in rock
& roll bands. I'd always liked organic-sounding things, yet somehow I
was trying to not do that. Now, I try to look at the guitars differently
than hitting you over the head with it."
Quever has collaborated with a number of his pals' bands,
including Cass McCombs, Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, the Skygreen
Leopards and Vetiver. Recorded and arranged with help from Alex Scally of
retro-dreamscapers Beach House, You Can Have What You Want boasts a distanced sonic
quality that, like much of those bands' work, is critical to what Quever
This sound has a way of wrapping you in a blanket. It
doesn't hit the ear hard; it chooses to seduce both in the instrumentation
and the way it's mixed. A slack snare and Cure-like bass pluck make the
loping groove on "Once We Walked in the Sunlight" a comfy bed for
drowsy, plush, textural coats of organ and voice. Something akin to Air
filtered through Magical Mystery Tour, this song's chords are Euro, not American,
unclichéd, inverting the music's effect with unexpected bass lines.
Quever's sound is languid, and it drenches the tunes and
spills over onto the counter. In "A Dictator's Lament," with its
groovy '60s teenbeat and squirrely tremolo organ, his breathy coo is bathed
in reverb, as if he's a tiny figure in one of those cavernous, old
recording studios of yore (which he isn't; he's in his living room,
surrounded by loads of vintage analog gear). His paradoxically epic sound
isn't dominated by a big-ass rhythm section; the bass and drums are
thinnish, to propel, not to hector.
"The Machine Will Tell Us So" and most everywhere else on the
album, it's Quever's discovery of certain vintage-organ sounds that ties
things together and comes the closest to giving it a defining character.
Those would be an old Hammond B3, or maybe one of those cheapo Lowreys,
which could take your parents back to fond reminiscing about the Zombies
(as might the hurt in Quever's distinctly Colin Blunstone-ish voice), or,
say, Brian Auger or Procol Harum, perhaps. Shimmering live strings form a
backdrop to the simple organ parts; interestingly, in "A Peculiar Hallelujah,"
these live strings are so generations-removed from the source that one
naturally assumes he's playing string synths.
doesn't reveal a lot about himself in casual conversation but opens up
within his music, which he's happy to attempt to describe.
"It feels honest," he
says. "It's not a put-on. It's very scary, 'cause I have nothing to
hide behind. There's no concept beyond me trying to make something I think
is great. And that's a precarious position to put yourself in."