Queen Of The Meadow
Survival of the Unfittest


3.2
good

Review

by (Not) Hugh Puddles STAFF
June 6th, 2021 | 7 replies


Release Date: 06/04/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Tranquil nights of stargazing and clouds gone by…

For all those moments I find myself thankful for my day to day life there are times in my life where I just want to feel something... else. That’s not to count me as ungrateful, but I can’t help but share the notion that the constant, consistent in’s and out’s of our day to day lives has the capacity to rub away at our soul, if only a little at a time. This is probably a sentiment that screams entitlement, for why should the universe have to cater to every whim and petty thought, somehow breaking away at the gold chains and shined bars of a lifetime. Simply, it just doesn’t. It may not have been what was on Helen Furguson’s mind as she penned enchanting folk tunes, a firm grip on melancholy and intimate vocal hooks. Yet, I can’t help but be enveloped in Survival Of The Unfittest’s more poignant messages fresh from Bordeaux. Queen Of The Meadow is a humble, yet transportable piece of folk full of both uplifting messages and moments of loss.

Survival Of The Unfittest is an honest take on life through the eyes of its creator (the music, not life) and at its core, Helen’s lyrics take the stage often twirling through syncopation, croons and tongue in cheek play. The resonance of the album’s opening “Smother” hints at the sickly sweet soundscapes to which Queen Of The Meadow places ample heavy brushstrokes and lighter flourishes. Piano notes twinkle under indie snares and nonchalant cymbal splashes. The high-hat taps away gently in the background—keeping pace, but far from intrusive on the limelight which is clearly, vocally led. The back half of “Smother” is among the most hopeful atmospheric builds of the year and yet the track finishes in simple, single notes.

Darker moments appear, much like “Dishonorable Discharge” which is full of direct lyricism that relates back to the track title. It’s a move that makes sense, but is portrayed in such a manner that the listener can feel attached, emotionally invested in the storyline. Mentions of “kicking the dead horse that’s already down” and the appeasement of masters are juxtapositions to the clearer, happier climes to which the genre is known to cater for. Similarly, “Honey” bounces between jovial vocal syncopation and omnipresent, darker lyricism. The track itself explores memory, whether it’s real or not depends on how it relates to the listener and yet it’s starkly relatable if you let it.

Survival Of The Unfittest’s latter tracks turn again, becoming almost morbid in nature. “The King and the Hoe” play on the same contrasts starkly popular on the rest of the record, cutting minor progressions into chanted layering and atmospheric builds. Helen’s voice cuts through the firmament with resolve, showcasing her immense talents, both in technical vocal ability and (more importantly) in songwriting strength.

As a whole, Queen Of The Meadow takes a formula and runs with it, oblivious to the fact it’s been done elsewhere, before or will be done again. Survival Of The Unfittest simply exists to cater to itself. In this manner it becomes precious and self aware, but not in direct competition with another act that would push for widespread success. A contrast to soaring, dizzying heights—grounded in the ‘now’ of mood and feeling. Survival Of The Unfittest does make you feel things, but importantly, it makes you feel something different while breaking you out of the usual funk, catching you off guard. There’s room for the usual disclaimer, if you’re not looking to break the pace of what’s ‘usual’ Survival Of The Unfittest is likely to pass without a second thought, but, if like me you’re looking for a little of something else, The Queen Of The Meadow sits in the right field.




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user ratings (6)
3.1
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
Nocte
Staff Reviewer
June 6th 2021


14285 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

Think I broke the art or it's sitting in the queue.



Listen here: https://queenofthemeadow.bandcamp.com/album/survival-of-the-unfittest



Figured I review something on the other side of the spectrum because others have been doing it and I don't want a sensitive Sput to crash because of all the metal being reviewed lately : ]

Digging: Diskord - Degenerations

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 6th 2021


38099 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This was nice and pleasant, even if unremarkable. Review is exceptional though, very well done. This has been a weird few weeks - Sowing reviewing metal and Nocte reviewing indie-folk; the end is nigh folks.

Digging: Bruno Pernadas - Private Reasons

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
June 6th 2021


14285 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

Thanks Sowing. It’s kind of a fly by review while I work on a couple not-indie-folk reviews. I don’t expect this will get much steam here, but it’s here nonetheless.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
June 7th 2021


24533 Comments


This looks like my cup of tea, gotta check.

Digging: Kultivator - Barndomens Stigar

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
June 7th 2021


14285 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

Interested to see some more takes on this, let me know how you go man.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2021


24533 Comments


This is nice so far, like a more upbeat version of Emily Jane White, but I'm two tracks in and I feel your rating is gonna be on point.

DungeonBoy
June 8th 2021


8258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review man, some of this I enjoy a lot, some of it not so much but each track manages to twist and turn enough just to pique my interest. The layers and flashes of different instruments surrounding the mix really help build up the very vocal driven songs in a great way. Smother is pretty amazing, along with Princess Pride. I enjoy the occasional percussion in the builds and the production throughout is perfect. Plan on coming back to this one for sure, thanks for bringing attention to it.



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