With three previous albums under their belts, a distinct lack of fluffy ballads, and full-blown bar band bombast, The Evil Queens’ latest, Lovesong Werewolves is chock full of pulsing, chugging guitars that three-chord their way through lo-fi landscapes. Steadfast drumming rolls behind lead singer Jacob Sundermeyer’s impassioned alternations between lyrical droning and impassioned screaming. More substance over style, The Evil Queens may find their brand of guitar-heavy, cerebral groove rock that finds its niche with a whiskey-swigging, hipster intellectual crowd. Appealing to one’s sense of the jilted and jaded, the slow, menacing grind of “Bad Luck Charm” is emblematic of The Evil Queen’s youthfully grizzled lyrics: “I am your biggest fan / I am your one night stand / Your river running with blood / Your ocean full of blood”.
While all solid riff-fests in their own right, at first listen, the tracks on Lovesong Werewolves aren’t completely memorable. Nevertheless, it’s The Evil Queen’s clever transposition of gonzo journalistic style into lyrical format (particularly on “America, America”) that serves as the band’s ace in the hole. Lured in by the group’s charged lyrics, eventually, The Evil Queens load up several swift kicks in the ass with brutal, straight-forward bar band rock. “Lions of May” stands as a prime example of this with “Year of the Cretin” pulling up with a very E Street saxophone riff assisting in crafting a piece that would be at home in a John Waters’ film or a ‘60s biker bar jukebox. Interestingly placed piano tinkles and skips its way through “Into the Drink” while the excellent “Carta” rips through with raw energy that bridges an astoundingly odd combination of snarling punk with the exhuberence and emotion of early Meatloaf. Yeah, it works.