Bitch Queens return with their follow up to the excellent ‘City of Class’ and continue to release well crafted albums that maintain high quality. They don’t tend to break out of the hard rock laced with punk attitude and catchiness category ( or is it punk rock with attitude and hard rock elements) that they have mined for several years. If you have liked the past couple of albums, this one is a no-brainer to purchase, and, if you have not heard them, start your journey here and enjoy a trip through their back catalog as well.
‘Burn It Down’ surges to life with an urgency that packs every second of its two minutes with vitality. The chorus doesn’t mess around and presents a simple refrain to immediately bring the listener into the album. The short breakdown in the song provides just enough of a break to create an impact when the hook comes back around for good measure. Slowing the tempo for ‘Con Man Contraband’ creates some dynamics as the verse then is given more power with the screaming vocals. A slithery guitar riff weaves its way through the song as the chorus is more subtle than the opener. Within the confines of the band’s sound is where they have expanded what they do as opposed to genre jumping. Sampling a warning announcement, they launch into ‘The Apocalypse’ and continue to ease just a little off the throttle here to create impactful moments. This is another chorus destined to be stuck in your head, and I like that we get the chorus before the first verse. The slow down at the end of the song fits perfectly too.
‘Don’t Be That Dude’ feels like a throwback to the mid to late 90’s a la Turbonegro, Supersuckers, Gluecifer, etc. It is catchy with lots of levity and will be one that will likely irritate you as you sing it in your head later. The title track provides an immediate switch with a balls to the wall race to the end of its frantic 40 second runtime. The band then immediately goes back to their super catchy hard rock with ‘The Worst Thing’ to close the first half of the album. It’s not a far reach from the Backyard Babies but contains a bit more exuberance and punkiness than BB have done for a while.
Kicking off the back half of the record, ‘Brainwash Radio’ is a solid classic Bitch Queens song with a large hook, excellent production, and made for air guitar riffs. This is the kind of song that should be getting played to death on the radio. The guitar to open ‘FU Emily’ provides more twists in the dynamics of the album. The song serves as a bit of a ballad here but is laced with so much attitude that it feels incredibly sinister and extremely catchy. ‘Ignorance is Bliss’ ups the tempo considerably and will either have your fist in the air or head banging in no time. This again highlights one of the greatest qualities of the band. They create albums that have a flow and take the listener on a journey. When the record ends, you want back on the roller coaster.
The final quarter pole of the album kicks off with ‘A Good Day to Forget’ which continues the hard rocking excellence. The chorus provides some moments to start singing immediately, but it is not one that will get boring. The guitar solo after the second chorus serves the song perfectly. ‘This is How We Roll in 2020’ provides another scream along moment as we recall the misery of the 2020 world. I don’t think someone could sit still during the song. Closing out the album, ‘Sugar Balls’ takes a step somewhat out of the ordinary but still sounds just like the Bitch Queens. The intensity builds up during the song to serve as the perfect ride out into the sunset moment for the album.
The Bitch Queens entered my world with the awesome ‘L.O.V.E.’ album back in 2017. I went backwards to catch up with their back catalog and have now been a fan since the start for their two most recent albums. If catchy hard rock laced with punk venom sounds like your thing, grab this new album and then start making your way through their back catalog too. You will not regret it.
Author: Gerald Stansbury