Articles by Michael Baker
For London’s self-proclaimed ‘anxiety pop’ group Flirting. and their debut This Would Be Funny If It Was Happening To Anyone But Me this introduction is an erratic, melancholic, and infinitely fascinating glance from the night time veranda of a bar. It’s a stare that will leave you uncomfortable and disconcerted – but you’d dare not look away because its so infatuating in its iridescence.
The Black Queen is an important project, not just for the willing catharsis of any listener who may choose to engage with its neon cloaked form but as a clinically needed outlet for its creators. Its a darkly warm and death obsessed romantic that is renown to frequent the trendiest clubs in the city and the darkest recesses of the mind at home.
Whilst not quite as immediate as some of its predecessors best, the album is a love letter to stadium rock and classic Prog – where any meandering and experimental noodling is soon brought into focus with Vennart’s mastery of chorus and melody.
There are artillery barges of blast beats and groove, before relenting with doom laden passages that allow you to momentarily breath and take in the damage before the next aural assault. It’s the breathing ebb and flow that works as the backbone of the album, where Jesus Piece show enough confidence to relent and leave you bleeding.
The harp has a long tradition of being depicted as an instrument of heaven. It is Natalie Evans’ lyrics that bring those heavenly connotations to earth, and make everyday things sound sublime in a fashion that draws comparisons with Joanna Newsom. Even the plight of being stuck in a tree is given a great innocent splendour as if the experience is the height of life itself.
‘Stranger Fruit’ is very much a natural evolution to ‘Devil Is Fine’, expanding on the sound and style, but along the way there are some gloriously unexpected mutations.
You can feel throughout that Queen Kwong isn’t interested in wasting time. Songs are butchered and cut until only the heart remains, the hooks are given all of the room in the world to amplify and dig in – whilst experimental synths and psych guitars scream out before being brutally silenced.
‘Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It’ is the release that their 13 year young career has been leading up to.
Key to their success is vocalist Asami who not only has a voice that exemplifies the best in over-the-top power vocals, with some showstopper wails placed in, but a natural stage character that had the crowd eating out of her hand.
Vuur is a competent vessel for Anneke Van Giersbergen to shine but ultimately its globetrotting adventure leads it to a tour of progressive metal that never finds itself its own city to call home.
‘Sterilize’ is an album with a singular dead end destination and nihilistic purpose, but with many ways of taking you there.