Genre: Modern Punk Rock
‘Let’s be shocking for the right reasons. Let’s be shocking because our gender isn’t mainstream, or let’s be shocking because our sexuality isn’t mainstream’. These are the words that echoed around the green room of a Brighton venue bar, as I interviewed lead vocalist, Zee, before a live date on the bands maiden UK headline tour. This fascinating, down to earth interview showed the heart-on-sleeve approach to music possessed by the band, and a stunning live performance later, Queen Zee had won over another corner of the countries underground Rock scene.
A year has passed since that evening in Brighton. A year that has seen the energetic and purposeful Punk presence of Queen Zee rapidly gain momentum. An undying passion for the voice of the underground to be received still emanates through every chord, riff and note as it did back then. This mixed with the topics of gay rights and the consistent theme of challenging gender roles, helps Queen Zee to play out a riveting debut record that channels the power of Punk in its purest form.
A snappy, tireless tone is immediately introduced by ‘Loner’. With its modernised lyrics and catchy undercurrent, this infectious number proves itself as an ideal sample of Queen Zee’s record. But, the best is yet to come as the gritty vibe and unapologetic stance of the band arises through the mist. ‘Lucy Fur’ and ‘Sissy Fists’ boldly tackle glaring issues in our current society that other bands have retracted from. Representing the sentiment of the album is not all these deliver on however, as ‘Lucy Fur’ fully embraces a mesmerising, upbeat Punk approach. Punk’s purpose has always been to express disdain or frustration but, decades of musical evolution has forced the genre to reevaluate to an extent. ‘Sissy Fists’ is a realistic representation of today’s refined, focused interpretation of Punk. Vivid lyrical structure gives you a stunning portrayal of the consequences surrounding bigotry. The way Queen Zee so effortlessly capture this notion is an outstanding achievement.
Contrast is a great and effective way for a band to showcase their diversity. However, the powerful mix of emotions between ‘Idle Crown’ and ‘Porno’ is simply Queen Zee in a nutshell. Serious, dark and graphic mental images splash across your mind during ‘Idle Crown’. But, the balanced execution means the song holds its worth and vacuums in your attention with a moody Punk atmosphere. Alternatively, ‘Porno’ is a loud, brash and shameless humour hinged track, that prevents the album from becoming too morally heavy.
‘Queen Zee’ is the personification of conviction and every passing powder-keg explosion of a track is more impactful than the last. ‘Victim Age’ is an adrenaline shot of heart-pounding character, unforgiving pace and rage-venting lyrics. This prolifically dominating anthem modestly makes way as ‘Boy’ barges into the foreground. Raising important questions surrounding gender roles and expectations, ‘Boy’ is yet another great song that adds to an already stacked catalogue.
Initially, a familiar pace occupies the forefront of ‘Hunger Pains’, causing it to attract a label as a blueprint song instead of an innovative one. Thankfully, this label is shaken loose by an emphatic chorus, keeping the fluency of the record intact. An unusual, timid and partly uncomfortable performance in ‘Anxiety’ is a subtle yet hard-hitting message in of itself.
Ending the record with light-hearted, engrossing and comical undertones is ‘I Hate Your New Boyfriend’. Lines such as ‘don’t you think he looks like Kurt Cobain? I said more like Courtney Love after she went insane’ provoke a smirk on every listen and the overall focus of the song remains just as resilient. The ‘big finale’ feel of ‘I Hate Your New Boyfriend’ shows that Queen Zee are dreamers, difference makers and ready to take their careers to the next level. A debut record that could be a foundation for a great movement is something but, doing it independently with little exposure is a whole new accomplishment entirely. This is a record created through an enduring passion for music and a positive work ethic. In truth, that’s the most anyone can ask for when it comes to Punk Rock.
Review Rating: 9