God is a Woman, the debut album from Indian Queens was released on 3rd April 2020, though I have held off reviewing the album until my vinyl copy arrived so I could really give it the attention it deserved. Formed in 2016, the trio consists of sisters Jennifer O’Neill on guitar & vocals, Katherine O’Neill on bass and lifelong friend Matthew Dudan-Bick on drums. The band say they create music for the night. And the delightfully dark tones mixed with thought-provoking lyrics truly live up to this statement.
The moment Bubblewrap kicks in with its almost sinister guitar, trip-hop bass and dirty rhythms you instantly know that you are listening to something special. Like some illicit lovechild of Massive Attack and Radiohead (a statement that’s true for the whole album) the stripped back, lo-fi rhythms and beats have nowhere to hide – but they don’t need to. Every note is filled with tension and meaning, nothing is there without a reason. Vocal harmonies become another instrument, weaving in and out of the rhythms being laid down – unafraid and unapologetic in their analysis of the world drowning in plastic and the blind eye we all turn to it.
The album builds momentum with the powerful Pretty Little Thing. Faster, Heavier, and rather very good before dropping the tempo with the title track God is a Woman. ‘Who wants to start a revolution?’ Starts the song, before going to on to ask ‘What would you do, if you found god was a woman? What would you do, if god was gay?’ Unapologetic in its lust for equality and desire to have the last laugh over those who would rather live in a closeted world.
The blending of political statements with personal beliefs continue throughout the album. Some Kinda Blue looks at difficult relationships, surviving or dying on the flip of a coin while Wanderlust goes slightly more upbeat, faster with a more uptempo and optimistic vibe ‘I wanna feel alive, I’m fed up of the years flying past… I wanna chase the sun, feel the warmth in my bones…’ going on a journey of self-discovery and optimism, stating ‘we can work it out…’ Wanderlust almost feels like the flip side of the coin to Some Kinda Blue. Followed by Us Against the World, a big song that sounds fuller than the three-piece that they are, ‘It’s us against the world, and that’s OK…’ and ‘you could be the only one…’ give us a glimpse into the lives of others finding that person they could take the world on with, from a time in your life when everything comes from the heart.
I hadn’t planned on this review being a track by track review so I’m going to stop my analysis there. We all read different meanings into songs depending on our own lives and experiences and I’m sure what I take away from this album may be different from the band, or anyone else’s interpretation. But it’s fair to say, the political and personal views and feelings continue throughout the album. Influences are drawn from punk, rock, hip-hop, indie and electronic music fused together into something special that’s not quite like anything else I’m listening to at the moment. Something that makes you think and may just inspire you to examine your own life with your hopes, dreams and even fears.
Simon Raymonde from Cocteau Twins described the band as having massive potential. With the release of this album, the band have not only realised that potential – they have absolutely smashed it by creating a dark, dreamy landscape of sound with a soul. Personal, political and emotional viewpoints are scattered throughout this stunning piece of wax, with some more whimsical tracks that just take you on a journey personal to you.
Released: April 3rd on Cool Thing Records.
Order direct from the band here