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Album Review: Mean Well by Queen Moo

Queen Moo release their second album Mean Well on 25th August via Topshelf Records. Featuring ex-original members of Sorority Noise this is an album that boarders the alt rock and the idiosyncratic.

There’s something charming about Queen Moo’s sound that suckers you in while not exactly making you fall in love with it. When Queen Moo spoke with Noisey in 2015, Jason Rule and Kevin O’Donnell had just “quit emo to get drunk.” In 2017, however, Rule has quit drinking, making a full reflection not just on sobriety and recovery, but on growing up and putting the worst parts of oneself to bed.

Across the album, the group packs extreme musicianship: Drummer Nick Charlton provides an insane sense of rhythm, often playing well across the bars, diving into poly-rhythms and absurdist beats without ever feeling out of place. O’Donnell’s voice is the baritone to Rule’s tenor. Oscar Godoy, for his part, splatters shredding melodies in bursts, occasionally duelling and harmonising with Rule, a fine guitarist in his own right. The group’s arrangements are constantly evolving and changing, making no two live performances alike.

It’s as if Modest Mouse decided to channel the theatrics and pretention of The Devine Comedy. You could be forgiven for thinking that wasn’t the most appealing concept and while you have the sublime in tracks like ‘Goals’ and ‘Gone’ you also have the over confidence and pomposity of tracks like ‘Funeral’ and ‘It May Not Be Fear’.

While the musicianship of Queen Moo can’t be discredited in any way it’s hard to get fully on board with Mean Well. For every track that you find charm in, you’ll find another that turns you against the album, typically illustrated by the drive and appeal of ‘Fixture’ being preceded by the dire title track.

A real mixed bag. A pleasant listen in parts.

AD Rating 5/10

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