Quarters of Change exemplified its mastery of the indie-rock genre with the release of its newest album, Portraits on Friday.

The quartet of New York natives created the band in 2017 and grew popular by integrating ‘90s alternative rock sounds with catchy lyrics enjoyed by modern audiences. With this new release, the group explores more solemn subjects with electric instrumentals. 

Quarters of Change’s style ranges from upbeat dance tracks to reflective ballads of hardship while simultaneously showcasing exhilarating guitar solos and hard-hitting drums. 

“What I Wanted” kicks off the album with a slow yet strong start, as an eruption of intense drums interrupts the leisurely guitar. The song describes the brutal reality of not being satisfied in life, which is painfully relatable. The lyric, “Too many tears have gone to waste / I’ve filled up, filled up a piggy bank / With hearts and lies and all my mistakes pulls at heartstrings and releases intense frustration as drums clash. 

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“Heaven Bound” reflects on the lack of meaningful knowledge that comes intrinsically with age, but also the experience of growing older and letting life pass without really learning anything. Its message is general, and widely relatable, especially for those who have yet to find their life. The song’s slow instrumentals and light guitar strums suit its reflective nature.

“Do or Die” is one of the more upbeat songs on this album, and falls in line with the band’s previous works while sticking to the artistic status quo. This track centers around a budding, all-consuming romance and makes you want to sing along to its catchy chorus. 

The dichotomy of the cheery music alongside the disheartening lyrics surprisingly works very well — “Desolation spilled on her sweater. / Well, the titanic feeling just came over me / When screaming, ‘Baby, baby, why?’

A standout track in the album was “Hollywood Baby.” The pulsating drums and dramatic electric guitar riffs embody an upbeat rock style. The song explores the angst of adolescence and a desire to live in another time period in lyrics such as “Shе’s a television lover who disagrees with thе state / Just a Hollywood baby born too late.”

A theme that Quarters of Change does particularly well is its commitment to vulnerability through honest lyricism. This album is generally slower and more reflective than the band’s previous album, Into The Rift. 

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The lead singer of Quarters of Change, Ben Roter, lost his father when he was only 3 years old. He cites his father’s experience as a musician to be part of his immense passion for music. 

Roter reflects on this loss in the song “Keep My Blood.” Roter’s vocals are particularly heavy when singing about his father, such as when he sings “The candle has burned out / Just like my father / It’s gone, it’s gone, it’s gone / Oh, he’s gone, he’s gone, he’s gone.” 

His voice becomes raspy, almost as if the utterance of the words are causing him pain. To hear him sing about such an immense loss weighed heavily on my heart and mind as I listened.

Through its newest album, Quarters of Change has cemented itself as an up-and-coming pillar in the alternative indie-rock community. With a strong narrative focus and the band’s incredible musicality, Portraits truly shines.