Queen Of Swords - Queen Of Swords

by Mark Steele Rating:5 Release Date:2017-09-15

A name is taken from both a tarot card set and a fantasy revenge TV series set in 19th century California about a Spanish valkyrie. It certainly sounds as though the eleven track debut album Queen Of Swords, created by Toronto's Queen Of Swords - Aerin Fogel, vocals and Kritty Uranowski, synths - possesses some kind of mystical prowess in the face of a dominant adversary. The prowess here would be Aerin's feminist standpoint, utilising her chosen song-fueled vehicle of expression. The album has been cooperatively produced with Bobb Bruno, behind the sound of Best Coast.

The opening of the album, "Family Ties," is a patriotic anthem, demonstrating a clear Celtic melody, sweetening the drums and angry guitar backdrop. There is a late-80s early 90's pop rendering of melancholic Indie-Pop, underneath Chamber Pop style sunshine melodies on this recording.

The layers of twangy guitars, synths, and reverbed drums provide a murmuring back drop to "Rise Instead," which could have stretched over to all the other songs on the album. Synth pop drums turn a below average song, "Somewhere Between" into a worthy melancholic highlight (although credit in part goes to the guitars and haunting timbre filled vocals). Listening to this, it seems apparent that the album has some mixing issues happening. The vocals seem to way out front, and everything else leveled down. It is okay on one song maybe, but it sounds contrived and at a pre-mastered stage.

A frostiness holds "Forgiveness" in an icy grasp, sounding as though it could be used for TV drama thriller music. The beginning of "Joy Will Be" has a Celtic vibe as well, melodically similar to the likes of Enya; a simple arrangement almost ambient, whilst the sheer racket backing Aerin on "Changed_Flickering" could have been clearer. It is only honest to say that there is a lot of filler on here that could end up as department store background music, only there are slight moments of short-lived depth, as with "Room In Your Cathedral."

As much as Queen Of Swords attempts to raise the level of conscious thought for those listening to the album, it does nothing to raise the roof in making a long lasting musical impression.

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