Masked in anonymity, Los Angeles duo QWEEN M8 make their debut to the world scuzzled in the throes of “tragic pop.” Immersed in a familiar, disturbing and well adored allure that echoes from the belly of post-grunge decades ago, QWEEN M8 maintains their modern edge cutting tracks on an electronic production. Their debut EP, It Won’t Take Long With You Gone, is a 4-track offering of perfectly placed distortion and duality. Consumed through a liberating construction due to the alias of the duo — Billy Qween and Billie Qween — QWEEN M8’s sound is revitalizing, holding a promising future for the Los Angeles artists.
The EP’s title track and video is the perfect portrayal of the band’s intricate, mechanical riffs paired with a tender longing. The track peaks through a distorted build while Billie’s vocals lead a spellbound listener through an irresistible, new wave tone. Visually playing off signature imagery of the moon landing, the atmospheric and lighthearted likeness of the video acts as introduction to the ambiguity of the duo.
A similar lot comes from the EP’s closing track, “ONLY IN DREAMS.” Pulsating as a heavier electronic ballad, dreamy guitar layers gently touch on the act of resistance, holding one tightly only when sleeping. Yet, despite being carved from the same mold, QWEEN M8 does something rather intelligent by displaying various aspects to their sound and identity throughout the EP. The track, “BEHIND THOSE EYES” beats to the drum of industrial mechanism, heavier distortions, and a slew of mistrust that dissolves by the break. Crunchy, distorted doo-wop peak on “SAD BOY SAD GIRL” that is pleasantly crooned by each member, balanced by a rich baritone and angelic, lyrical vocals.
While only in the infant stages of their cultivation, QWEEN M8’s moody and polished direction of “tragic pop” is a welcoming break of noise from the somewhat repetitive atmosphere we’ve heard this year. Diluting traces of post-grunge and borrowing elements from the new wave genre, QWEEN M8’s refinement and debut is a strong meshing of production and imagery that will offer more depth as time passes.
Cover photo: Dave Seal