Queen Kwong, Love Me To Death
Carré Callaway is easily one of the strongest people in rock. The frontlady of Queen Kwong has recently been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, and that’s just one of the obstacles she’s faced and overcome during her journey as an artist, and it’s one of the factors that she’s drawn from emotionally to create sophomore album Love Me To Death. The record isn’t an easy listen, but nor is it necessarily meant to be. With each song fully improvised in the studio, the album is a vivisection of Callaway’s experiences, and her unfiltered responses.
The record’s improvised nature means its content is guaranteed to blow your mind; it’s raw and it’s also incredibly clever. Tracks as bitter as The Happiest Place and as grindingly inevitable as hypnotic first single One Lung are unsettling too – but in the best way.
Queen Kwong’s success is underpinned by their haunting, repetitive tunes. They reiterate ideas so that they can drive them home. And this is an album of contrasts too. Love Me To Death is both understated and theatrical, romantic and morbid. Such brilliantly executed juxtapositions are another of the band’s trademarks and they’re used perfectly on faux-pop tracks Fool’s Gold and On The Mend. These slightly distorted party songs make for as uneasy listening as anything else on Love Me To Death.
The contrasts continue with two of the album’s most melancholy tracks, each following more upbeat songs. The beautifully atmospheric Raptures is the first track on the album that feels held back and would feel right at home on a Twilight soundtrack (this might not seem like high praise but trust us, it definitely is – the soundtracks were the best thing to come out of the franchise!), whilst Old Faithful is more of a mournful whisper. The evocative lilt of both Callaway’s voice and the ambient instrumental combine to haunting effect.
Emotionally, Callaway keeps us on our toes from start to finish here. Whether you listen to just one track, or whether you listen to the whole thing all the way through ten times in a row, Love Me To Death is going to stay with you for a long time. It’s one of 2018’s most powerful releases so far.
Love Me To Death is out Friday 13th April via Edison Sound.