Described by lead vocalist & guitarist Jennifer O’Neill as “a late night record”, London trio Indian Queens‘ debut album God Is A Woman is a sublime offering, designed to dissolve uncertainty and soothe anxious minds. Set for release via Cool Thing Records on 3rd April, the band have written thirteen dizzying tracks that are equal parts driving and delicate; shimmering with cinematic flair.
Formed of sisters Jennifer (guitar/vocals) and Katherine (bass) O’Neill, and lifelong friend Matthew Dudan-Bick (drums), Indian Queens were born and raised in Hackney Wick. Influenced by the restless city that surrounds them, the trio’s soundscapes reflect both the darkness and the light on a personal, and a universal scale. This is epitomized on opening track ‘Bubblewrap’, a beguiling lament about the state of the planet. It smolders with dense beats, atmospheric guitar and Jennifer’s captivating vocals. “We were born in plastic bags / conveniently stored / bubble-wrapped indoors”, she muses, conjuring up images of over-protection and suffocation. Despite the track’s haunting context, Indian Queens still manage to lull their listeners into acceptance, and hopefully into action too.
Based on a childhood memory of the O’Neill sisters’ grandparent’s house, the nostalgic ‘Pretty Little Thing’ rings out with warmth and understated joy. Jennifer’s extended vocals in the chorus and the rose-tinted guitar sounds make this a truly uplifting track. The eponymous ‘God Is A Woman’ is a tentative, elusive exploration of tolerance, hope, and faith. “Who wants to start a revolution?” sings Jennifer, with a sharp awareness and those “fingers crossed”. The band’s ability to tap into both the personal and the political with the flick of a guitar pedal is extra impressive here.
‘Some Kinda Blue’ is a frustrated, jaded, but intensely affecting invitation to rekindle the flames of a valued relationship. The guitar seems to reflect the quick-switching nature of emotion; one moment it’s shimmering and atmospheric, the next it rings with distortion. Thudding beats, buoyant riffs and hopeful lyrics permeate ‘Wanderlust’, which is a joyful pact to “live for the day”. ‘Us Against The World’ is an intoxicating blend of all that makes an Indian Queens’ track so affecting. Jennifer’s comforting lyrics, charming vocals and agile riffs, Katherine’s buzzing bass lines, and Matthew’s considered percussion are truly magnetic here.
A restless, searching spirit fuels ‘I Got So Much I Wanna Say’, and continues throughout ‘I Get No Rest’. The sweeping, all encompassing sounds on following track ‘Concrete Lips’ and the repeated lyric “there’s something ’bout you that I can’t forget” combine to make a heady, moody lullaby. The dreamy, gentle ‘Warning Sign’ precedes the lusting, disorientating ‘You Came Over Late’, before anti-party anthem ‘Shoot For Sexy’ kicks in with its intoxicating beats. Despite its suggestive lyrics and smoldering bass lines, it’s a track best appreciated under low light with intimate company. Lust paves the way for adventure and hope on poignant, exhilarating final track ‘Walk’.
On God Is A Woman, Indian Queens have crafted a dazzling collection of meaningful songs that provide a welcome rush of blood to the head. It’s impossible not to be caught up in their captivating sounds. Invest immediately.
Photo Credit: Kana Waiwaiku