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

Gods and Queens

Untitled II [12-inch] (2010)

Sons of Vesta

Gods and Queens' followup to their kind of self-titled 2008 full-length is yet another title-less wonder. This 12" EP that takes the band's formula of '80s/'90s post-hardcore and noise rock meshing and funnels it through a slightly more accessible stoner pop filter this time around, while retaining the inherent desperation and vulnerable emotional core of their sound.

As the way bands are wont to go, Untitled II is a little less indicative of its influences, but it still snarls and gyrates with the likes of its Dischord and Touch & Go forebears. But it's also less abrasive, as indicated by a surprisingly gentle twinkle of guitars in opener "Untitled 08" and almost '90s alternative brushes of melodic yells in "Untitled 09", which otherwise pulses with a tempered, noisy roll, letting the percussion guide its build into a fierce, extended climax all within two minutes. Hell, I'm probably just trying to refrain from drawing a Torche comparison (wall of sound meets '90s alt in concise form), but when the moderately sludgy rhythm of the EP's longest, "Untitled 10", comes through, it's hard to do so. "Untitled II" draws clearer lines to the cheery drear of Foo Fighters' self-titled era, but it muddies it up and allows the instrumental second half to meander and plod, post-metal style, in order to establish its own identity.

The natural sound of railroad train chatter is used as a common device on this EP, and if I could make out the lyrics to point out some sort of connection there, I certainly would. But it acts as a nice theme for the intro and/or outro of most songs here, even when its explanation is ignored further with a searing bonus track: a cover of Quicksand's "Head to Wall". Gods and Queens turn up the dissonance just a bit but keep that fantastic dynamism of the chorus, turning it into a smokey, head-banging and intense refrain.

This is a very cool progression for Gods and Queens. I should probably check out its followup ASAP.

Untitled 08
Untitled 09
Untitled 10
Untitled 11
Untitled 12