"Crafting intoxicating harmonies that stick in your head for days is what they do best". AfterDark’s Dean Hodge reviews the new single by Baby Queens (released on 13 November 2015).
The new double A-side single by Cardiff quintet Baby Queens – released on Cardiff’s Strangetown Records label – succeeds on two fronts. On one hand, it reaffirms them as the next big band you need right now in your life and in your record collection – or streaming playlist in a more modern context. On the other, it paints them as the atypical nightmare of the average marketing-brained music journalist who find themselves in a quandary as to what exactly to label them as.
For one, Baby Queens model themselves as, or at least on the forefront give the first impression of being, a girlband. But musically speaking, they are far removed from any connotations to the label, not least because they actually play their own instruments and write their own tunes. Then there is the music behind the faces. On first listen, it’s R’n’B – influenced pop but imbued with garage rock guitars. Or it’s indie-rock with a dash of reggae. Or it’s hip-hop laced with doo-wop harmonies. The countless musical threads are enough to send your head in a spin faster than the script of a Quentin Tarantino film – and aptly their music would be a suitable soundtrack to one too.
The music of Baby Queens simply doesn’t lend itself to half-assed pigeonholing, and any liner note – however nicely articulated – won’t get any closer to summing up their sound. You simply have to listen to – and feel – their music. An acceptable mutual opinion though is that Baby Queens simply make very good music. For people still yet to discover them, the double A-side release of Melodiand Had My Heart serves as fine an introduction as any.
It only takes a few seconds for the dreamlike hook of Melodi to worm its way into your synapses. After cooing harmonies open the track, what follows is a hypnotic musical carousel of 60’s doo-wop grooves, 70’s funk-derived guitar licks and 90’s R’n’B vocals that takes the listener on a ride and simply refuses to let you off. The track showcases what the five-piece do best, which is crafting intoxicating harmonies that stick in your head for days.
While the first track showcases their flair for a catchy hook, the flipside Had My Heart reflects the more progressive side of the band and the deeper lyrical undertones of much of their output. Herein lies their ability to take threads from any genre that their record collection can accommodate and weave it into a sound which, while on paper shouldn’t work, somehow does. Hip-hop beats and jagged guitar riffs open the track, as achingly soulful vocals are interspersed with a rap turn, before the track then shifts tempo completely and waltzes to a stirring crescendo.
With a debut album now finally on the way and expected to drop early next year – produced at Strangetown Records by Super Furry Animals and Zefur Wolves alumni Cian Ciarán –it is a safe assumption that the saccharine soul of Baby Queens will be the ‘alternative’ soundtrack to 2016.
Melodi/Had My Heart is available to download and stream now.
By Dean Hodge
More from Baby Queens: https://afterdark.co/artists/baby-queens
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