On their self-titled debut album, Queen Zee seem to have released 10 loud, heavy songs that ooze with attitude. It’s only when you clamber past the noise and sit within it that you notice the subtlety at play: a two-note riff that stays longer than it should, the incisive, witty lyrics, the infectious choruses.
“I’m alone / I’m alone / I’m a loner” are the first lines on the record. Anthemic and infectious, it’s also deeply relatable. Compared to their previous work, the album is faster, scrappier and less punky. With hefty drums and crunchy guitars, the 10 tracks are untethered from what you would expect from the Liverpool band; their sound floats between generations, harking back to days of Iggy Pop while reminding you that we’re in 2019 with a frontperson who’s openly queer and trans writing lyrics that tackle transphobia.
The album continues to eschew convention in surprising ways. Beneath the polished exterior, the music carries a sadness; there are heavy political messages here. Each song manages to resonate with everyday life. Rhythmic, angry, guitar chords on ‘Idle Crown’ drop behind a weighty baritone, with the growled lines “when I’m broken / I’m just a wreck”; the album is a portrayal of the emotions of the working class person. Whether it’s on ‘Anxiety’ or ‘Boy’, Queen Zee have been introspective while maintaining their image of power-pop-punk band that gives no fucks.
Containing some of the more infectious hooks you’ll hear this month, ‘Queen Zee’ comes with so much to unpack that it should appeal to a vast audience. It flips the concept of typically testosterone-filled music on its head, simultaneously making the anger and noise cathartic and catchy, expelling the tormented souls of the affected and marginalised in society.
So many of Zee’s politics intertwine with the lyrics within the noise of the instruments to forge insistent anthems for the LGBTQIA community. The five-piece band from Liverpool have dropped an album that’s sure to stick with you long after your first listen, if only for the noise.