?Quo? finds Stefan Neville (a.k.a. Pumice) continuing along a similar course that he set out on with his previous effort ?Pebbles?, pushing into more recognizable terrain while taking on whatever stylistic whim that crosses his path. Quo?s disparate mix of idiosyncratic pop, delicately plucked folk, scorching punk, and woozy blues does not come across as some fragmentary collection, but rather a cohesive album held together by that ever present buzz?n?howl that is the unifying thread to all of Neville?s work as Pumice.
The instrumental ?Pumicequo? leads off the album with spiky guitar tones and a complex stop-start arrangement with Neville pulling off a one-man Magic Band of sorts; however, the synth gurgles and noisy outro quickly dispel any notion of retro-treading here. The following track ?World of Worms? shifts gears entirely and introduces a new wrinkle in the Pumice arsenal: the accordion. Squeezing out a melody that brings to mind something one would have heard on the streets of France in decades past, Neville pieces together an oddly charming pop song that sounds both rollicking and melancholic at the same time. The subsequent track ?Fort? is a minute and a half burst of manic punk energy with electrifried guitar wailing so uncontrollably over this it seems to have taken on a life of its own, whereas ?Thermos in the Studio? finds this guitar sound tempered beneath gorgeous acoustic finger picking. The middle section of the album unfolds along a comparable trajectory leading up to two of the more compelling tracks ?Dogwater? and ?Heavy Punter?, the former sounding like a crooner ballad on sedatives and the later a hypnotic blues-infused number. For those who enjoy Pumice?s droning chord organ blues, though, you unfortunately only get this on the closing track ?Beak Remedy? (though possibly that accordion again).
Ultimately what ?Quo? confirms in its brief running time is that Neville can take on any form and shape it into something uniquely his own. His talent is wide reaching and, dare I say, worthy of a larger audience. 9/10 -- David Perron (18 June, 2008)