There’s a lot to love about Queen Kwong. Not only was new record ‘Get A Witness’ co-written, produced and played on by Icarus Line legend Joe Cardamone, but vocalist Carré Callaway is also the prodigy of a certain Mr. Trent Reznor. Not only that, but Callaway vocally could be the missing link between Shirley Manson and Courtney Love. Taking all that into consideration, it makes sense that ‘Get A Witness’ bears the sound it does – part grunge, part punk and part indie for a thrilling, mesmerising concoction.
And while most bands with such a wide range of sounds have a tendency to become lost in their own ambitions, Queen Kwong manage to run the whole gamut and still stay focused. Take the first three tracks for example, kicking off with the snarling punk of ‘Cold Daggers’ making way for the rumbling, ramshackle grunge of ‘Newt’ and finishing on the haunting atmospherics of the title track. Elsewhere, ‘Red Devil’ casts the ’90s net out even further with an almost Portishead-style trip-hop sound, and ‘Bells On’ is a little slice of madness.
Obviously while all members of the band have an equal role to play, the true ace in the hole is Callaway. In terms of vocal malleability, she’s up there with Marmozets’ Becca MacIntyre or Rolo Tomassi’s Eva Spence, able to switch effortlessly from beautifully hushed tones to feral screeches, one of Queen Kwong’s most noticeable and indeed praiseworthy features.
As good as ‘Get A Witness’ is though – and at times it verges on genius – it comes across as incredibly difficult to entice fairweather listeners, such is its eclecticism that could be argued to verge on unpalatable. But that’s their loss – for those who do find something in ‘Get A Witness’, it’s an album that continually reveals new surprises with each listen, and without a doubt earmarks Queen Kwong as one of the most interesting new bands around.
‘Get A Witness’ by Queen Kwong released on 28th August on Dissention Records.
Words by Luke Nuttall (@nuttall_luke)