EP Review: The Queen’s Head – Haunt

The band The Queen's Head
Credit: Holly Whittaker

The Breakdown


The Queen’s Head are a five piece from South London comprising Joel Douglas (vox/guitar), Tom Butler (vox/bass), Robbie Cottom (keys), Mike Hendry (guitar) and George Thompson (drum/percussion).  Together they produce music that may be inspired by modern anxieties and the turmoil of the world we currently live in but trust me, this is for pure escapism for the listener. Bassist and lyricist Tom Butler further expands: 
“It is difficult to breathe. It really is. The air is hot and dense with carbon dioxide. We are running after busses which have just left the stop. Our attention is so corrupted by influences – both bad and good – that we have no choice but to melt into a big, confused puddle, stuffing our fat faces with sourdough pizza, music from people who may or may not have died already and that thing they call ‘the news’. It’s all very, very weird. Let it all go. Let it out in a big primal scream and take a trip to The Queen’s Head: a place where you can forget who you are, remember everything that has happened to you, and dance.”

After the 7″ single release on Speedy Wunderground for ‘Your God Owes You Money‘ The Queen’s Head now release their debut EP Haunt. Opener ‘Tonight I Saved A Life’ provides a raucous start to the 4-track offering. It’s a fan favourite from their live shows and from one listen it’s obvious why. The band say it’s a track “of revelry, hedonism and performativity in the face of grim surroundings.” In other words get on your dancing shoes and move. The rabble-rousing vocals is accompanied by a midtrack section full of funky guitars. The subsequent deadpan delivery and abrupt end seems to only add to the party vibe.

Til Death Do Us Part‘ takes us to the disco. Seriously I realised I was smiling while listening to this. The mixture of disco and funk plus both spoken and distorted vocal only adds more energy. There’s a midtrack break which allows for some static fuelled sounds before throwing us headfirst back under the glitterball. Musically it winds up to a frenetic pace and we are in the crowd at The Queen’s Head.

Current single ‘Committed‘ is a different track altogether, a slower pace and with a tired sounding vocal the atmosphere is altogether darker. The reality at the moment is that we want to forget the turmoil and challenges of the world around us, but it can be difficult. Tom Butler says of the track: 
I find myself, as do many around me, utterly desperate for love and connection, reaching for the absurdist enactments of human touch to momentarily escape life’s horrors. Ironically, such escape is, in itself, its own horror – ‘Committed’ explores this. On the seductive surface, the rhythm is funky and the melodies are pure-pop. But the spoken word voice is depressed, the electronics are harsh and bar-length chords move down, down, down such that the funkier moments become if not uncomfortable, then pathetic. You want to have fun with others, shake your hips in the rapture of a guitar solo – that most patriarchal of musical ideas and the ironic climax of the song – but get the impression that to do so is short-sighted and ineffectual. Because it is.”

Disco For One‘ rounds off Haunt and there seems to be a continuum on this EP. Following on from ‘Committed‘ we have this acknowledgement that dealing with reality can be a struggle alone. The beats are still there and there is a definite electro element to this final track. The distorted and spoken vocal begin the track, but at around midtrack there is a halt and recognition that life is to be shared. This last track demonstrates more than any other on the EP a real talent in song-writing. The Queen’s Head are absolutely the real deal. They are a gang you want to be part of and as Haunt closes out, ‘Disco For One’ ends with the static buzzing quieter and quieter. I have no doubt if this is how the gigs end, the crowd will be cheering from more.
“I’ve tried I’ve tried.
I just can’t keep dancing too this disco for one
I just want someone to show it too”

The Queen’s Head tour dates
Nov 22nd | London, UK – Shacklewell Arms 
Nov 23rd | Brighton, UK – The Hope and Ruin
Nov 24th | Portsmouth, UK – The Loft 

For more information on The Queen’s Head please check out facebook and instagram.

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