Mod Pop CD Review: Queen Annes Released!
From the late 70’s right through to the mid 90’s, some of the greatest bands in power pop history were from Seattle. Bands such as Exploding Hearts, Super Deluxe, Sparkler and the greatest Seattle power pop band of all time, The Heats.
Not to be overlooked in the power pop craze at the time, Mod Pop counterparts The Queen Annes released a cassette in the early 80’s entitled Something Quick. I recall really enjoying their sound, one that had all the drive and unbridled energy of The Who. The way I understand it, they tried to follow up on the release in 1997 with a full length LP entitled Revenge. However, like so many worthwhile recordings of that time, the project was shelved.
Thanks to the folks at Green Monkey Records, Revenge has been unveiled in all its splendor… but re-titled as Released!. With Released!, The Queen Annes offer up a variety of styles and influences that prove to be broader in scope and so much more entertaining than their earliest work. It’s a shame that it didn’t find it’s way to the marketplace back in ’97.
The Who influence is still there of course, as on “Circus Train”, the opening track. This song has jangle to spare and the horns in the beginning are a nice touch. “She Swims Sideways” is an interesting psych-pop number and sounds almost as if it could be a Jeff Kelly composition. “What’s It All About” is another favorite and has the lyrical feel and DIY treatment of a good dBs song.
Other highlights include “It’s Not My Life” with its sideways Motown feel and well placed horns, “Kiss Me I’m Dead” (another psych-pop song that reminds me of The Green Pajamas a little bit – just a little bit). There’s a couple of great cover tunes too. The Bee Gees’ “Harry Braff” and the Brian Wilson composition “This Whole World” are great covers, the latter showing us that these guys could have been a really good harmony group if they had wanted to.
Finally, “Lady of the Waves” is a very pleasant acoustic track that offers another new texture to a very diverse, engaging record.
Whether you remember The Queen Annes or not, Released! should not be missed. Get your copy of Released! directly from Green Monkey Records or at Kool Kat Musik. And, if the history of Northwest rock interests you, pick up this one, also from Green Monkey Records.