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Ex-Q and Not U Duo Forms Paint Branch: Hear Vividly Brushed ‘Brighton Beach’ Now

John Davis and Chris Richards

Two former members of Q and Not U have reunited as Paint Branch, though don’t expect a return to that much-loved Washington, D.C., band’s danceable post-punk. On January 8, Chris Richards and John Davis will release their new project’s debut album, titled I Wanna Live. The first advance track from the record, the pained reflection “Brighton Beach,” turns toward richly detailed storytelling, sweetly sighing harmonies, and intricate guitar-and-drums interplay recalling Neil Young. Canyons aside, neither half of Painted Branch has been exactly resting on any laurels since Q and Not U’s 2005 dissolution: Davis has recorded with Georgie James and Title Tracks, while Richards, who released an album as Ris Paul Ris joined by electronic wizard Tim Hecker, has served as the Washington Post’s pop music critic since 2009. Their latest has little in common with the trends Richards would have been covering in that role, but the duo’s broader expertise shows.