The Black Queen
Fever Daydream


4.5
superb

Review

by MercuryToHell CONTRIBUTOR (40 Reviews)
January 29th, 2016 | 124 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh.

Revival? Worship? Tasteless nostalgia? Place your bets.

Revisiting the 80s is a tightrope. One false move and your identity goes out of the window, replaced with a hollow, fetishised and watered down version of a time that many of us hold dear (whilst at the same time acknowledging that it was a bit... tacky). But let's get one thing clear here. This record is woven from 80s synth work, no doubt, but beneath the shimmering neon veneer, there is an inescapable beauty in the sound-scaping and overall ambience, carving a unique sound despite wearing influences heavily on its sleeve. This is more than just an appreciative trip - this is an exploration of what makes electronic music engaging: it swirls, invites, and involves. It has no fear in sounding cheesy in respect of the genre, but the prime goal isn't to replicate - it is to utilise these tools and make an easily accessible but surprisingly deep synthpop album.

Where, in 2015, Gunship took their respect of the decade and lovingly crafted a fantastic sound-a-like, The Black Queen mash the analog synths and 808 kicks with trippy wobbles and unsettling effects.

Lead single 'Ice To Never' is one of the most outwardly pop-centric tracks on offer here, along with 'Secret Scream', 'Maybe We Should', and 'That Death Cannot Touch' - these all display a kind of Justin Timberlake-meets-The Human League aesthetic, which is altogether a hell of a lot more tasteful and subtle than the sum of its parts. Conversely, splashed around this record are glimpses of a darker, glitchier side to the band; around the unsettling interludes and where the songs bring moments of disarming calm - minimalism could have dominated the songs on offer here, but alongside the sharp, tight percussion and synth stabs, the airy SFX and echoes create a surprisingly rich and full sound. Closer 'Apocalypse Morning' is a particularly satisfying example of this.

Greg Puciato has always been a divisive figure as a clean vocalist, owing mainly to the perceived softness he has brought to The Dillinger Escape Plan (albeit still bookended by overbearing brutality), and if you can't listen to Miss Machine without skipping 'Unretrofied', this album will assuredly not be for you. However for the rest of us, his tone and skill in delivery is an absolute joy. His breathy falsetto melts over these tracks in assured confidence, oddly reminiscent of Darren Hayes.

This is a wonderful pop record, not prepared to rest on the laurels afforded by pristine production, with dark, sultry, downright sexiness on display at every corner - it never explodes into a garish representation of the source material, preferring rather to snarl and entice from afar.

Check this out.

P.S It is worth acknowledging this however: 'That Death Cannot Touch' could have been a Cameo song. Let that sink in a while.



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user ratings (173)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
January 29th 2016


1255 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Glorious record.

Comments and constructive criticism are welcomed as always.

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
January 29th 2016


1255 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Also, for those who are unaware, Darren Hayes was in Savage Garden. Fun fact.

larrytheslug
January 29th 2016


1587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

is this out today?

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
January 29th 2016


1255 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It was on Spotify at least, looks like it's obscenely cheap on iTunes, Bandcamp etc as well!

larrytheslug
January 29th 2016


1587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cool. I like clean vocals Greg. Looking forward to listening.

Mammalsauce
January 29th 2016


23 Comments


Greg doing synth wave is basically a wet dream for me. Looking forward to this when i get my hands on it. Did this ever make it to the album? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iybXBE-BBUs

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
January 29th 2016


1255 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Somehow no it didn't - but don't mourn too much, every other song is a delight!

Greg's vocals are a particular highlight, they're his best cleans ever in my opinion.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
January 29th 2016


6283 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

(edit: fixed)



MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
January 29th 2016


1255 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You're right, I did take the time over building the thoughts behind it, but not so much in the delivery as I had to rush out. And ironically I've tried to stop myself being as verbose as I can be sometimes...

Will edit in due course, thankyou!

Faraudo
January 29th 2016


1783 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really solid record on my first listen.

LordePots
January 29th 2016


37834 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

from the couple tracks i heard of this the music was very cool but Greg basically ruined everything like always

Digging: Kitty - Miami Garden Club

tempest--
January 29th 2016


20544 Comments


can't wait to listen to this

Epicenter
January 29th 2016


243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I'm so glad I pre-order this. Good shit right here.

EvoHavok
January 30th 2016


7186 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Will check. I remember when Brendan Schroer used the same quote in a review summary.

Digging: Ningen-Isu - Ijigen Kara no Hoko

Balevreski
January 30th 2016


5 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Loving this

TenSecondsToThink
January 30th 2016


1628 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i wish this album was more ambitious, it really stagnates towards the end

CalculatingInfinity
January 30th 2016


7408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Gonna check this soon, was expecting a 4 and by the looks of it it's what I'll get.

LewisShaw
January 30th 2016


281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"it really stagnates towards the end", I felt this on my first listen also; I'll have to give it another go today

BallsToTheWall
January 30th 2016


48087 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sounds good. Cool review.

Digging: Root - The Book

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
January 30th 2016


1255 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Edits made, and ideas advanced on. Thanks for the feedback!



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