Queen Moo ‘Mean Well’ LP review
Mary Rudzis – Copy Editor
Connecticut natives Queen Moo put out their second album on August 25, their first release since being signed to Topshelf Records. Each member of the quartet has been deeply immersed in music for years, and “Mean Well” is a culmination of all their skills. At just under a half hour, this album has proven to be one of the best releases that has come out of the nutmeg state for years.
When you listen to “Mean Well” you are forced to keep thinking about what’s going to happen next. Only a band like them could pull off such intricate timing, with songs shifting like chameleons to turn into something entirely different than what they started out as. It’s an essential album for any music lover because there’s nothing quite like it, and it challenges the listener in a way that’s still accessible.
“Goals” is a standout on the album, starting out with the lyrics “I’ll never reach my goals.” Like a lot of the songs on this record, the lyrics feel personal. “I’ll never have it all until I sweat through all my troubles in my own way ‘cause part of me wants to heal.” The idea of healing and self-destruction as well as self-improvement comes up a lot throughout the album. The structure of the song keeps the listener on their toes, with so many elements switching and slowing down and speeding up. Scott Bevins plays the trumpet on this track, adding a big-band feel to the bridge that elevates it. It’s brilliant start to finish.
The whole album feels like it’s going full-force, and while it occasionally slows down or takes what feels like a break, it picks back up again. In “Gone” it has a slow build into a chorus that sounds massive, and breaks down into a verse that focuses on Rule’s vocals. The bassline on this song really shines, creating a full and intense feel, courtesy of Kevin O’Donnell.
The title track is a more mellow and introspective tune, “When’s the last time you felt for anyone else” is a question it asks. “How many lies will you tell to keep to yourself?” The lyrics are unrelenting, it feels so intimate and almost like maybe we’re hearing something we shouldn’t have. It’s an acknowledgement, something nostalgic, but Rule sings “this is the last time I dwell on feelings I’ve shelved.”
“Fixture” is a beautiful song. Nick Charlton’s drum skills really keep the song moving and Oscar Godoy’s detailed guitar licks make this a standout track. In the middle, it sounds like the song has ended but suddenly Rule’s voice, along with an orchestral sounding swell comes back to finish out strong. Rule also reflects on his recent feat of quitting drinking, singing “the stiffer the drink, the less I gotta sing from the heart” and as a longtime fan, this feels like the most honest thing I’ve heard in a long time. This album is a celebration in a way, it feels like a real showcase of true feelings and no filters.
“Mean Well” ends with the track “Ariel”, which the band has been playing at shows for a while before the album came out. While it’s familiar, listening to it recorded and finalized is a completely different experience. The melody is so unique, constantly packing a punch, with an incredible guitar solo by Godoy that finishes it off.
Queen Moo is a band truly unlike any other, combining elements of rock and jazz into their sound. “Mean Well” is impressive, with the band’s skills both individually and as a band have constantly and noticeably improved. They just keep getting better and better.
“Mean Well” is available on Spotify, as well as available to stream on Bandcamp at QueenMoo.bandcamp.com.
Photo Courtesy: Zack Gomez