Gods and Queens - Gods and Queens [12 inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Gods and Queens

Gods and Queens [12 inch] (2008)

Robotic Empire

Every so often you get a band who's pretty forthright about what they're doing. The Brooklyn/Bethlehem/Philly combo Gods and Queens spell it out in their bio: "[Trying] tried in vain to blatantly steal riffs and song patterns from some of [our] favorite bands, like Hoover, Rodan, Angels of Light, June of 44, Lowercase, Spaceman 3, Lungfish, and lastly, the best band to have graced the planet earth, UNWOUND ...but [failing] on every attempt." That about sums it up -- their economical self-titled full-length is a caustic, slightly noisy and unsettling showcase of the more obscure 1990s bands lifting the slightly Dischord-esque, Touch and Go-leaning sound (see also: Fugazi, Big Black).

Choosing only seven songs to make their mark, Gods and Queens still manage some somewhat varied moods and ways of conveyance. After the more searing opener (they're all untitled), track 2 comes in with more of a shoegazing quality, but manages to crescendo into a fitful burst. No matter how they're crafting the song, though, it''s with a brick wall of frothing, layered guitars and bass -- even though they're just a three-piece. But it's a definite, choking wall of sound presented for every track. The most shifting in it occurs for the nearly ten-minute closer, which blares with ominous hums and pulsating lines for much of its course (which means the rest of the album averages just under three minutes a song).

This mild spate of versatility comes vocally, too. They might appropriately mutter along at one moment only to hoarsely snarl the next (track 4); musically, they might not always be so dynamic, but that change from restraint to harshness is provided at the forefront and keeps interest afloat.

Gods and Queens have provided a solid capsule of noisy `90s post-hardcore with their debut. It's hard to find many bands still doing this stuff nowadays, but G&Q may already be leading the small pack.

Six of Gods and Queens'' seven tracks