It has to be admitted that the thought of an album set around two wheeled exploits was intriguing but did not exactly spark eager anticipation, but readers do not let that colour any decision to check out the bewitching and thrilling embrace of Iron Horse, the debut album from Me For Queen. Themed by the adventure of cycling in the city, exploring and inspired by events and emotions found by experiences of the band founder’s on a bike, the release lays down an inescapable seduction which bewitches ears and imagination right through to the passions.
Originally the solo project of Talk In Colour’s Mary Erskine, Me For Queen has subsequently grown to a full engagement with the addition Will Dollard, Nick Bowling, and Andy Paine. Last year saw the release of the Live at Red Gables EP, a well-received release sparking strong interest in this following Pledge Music funded release. Talking about Iron Horse, Erskine explained that “there are tracks about the freedom of cycling, the rage and fear you sometimes feel on your bike when surrounded by cars, and a white bike tribute”, going on to add “You’ll like it whether you cycle or not.” That last declaration is certainly very easy to agree with. Equally the album’s tales can be translated to more general experiences in everyday life, how people connect and live within each other’s space for example. It is a fascination of sound merging various flavours into one bike inspired festival of creative enterprise, the album’s sound and presence as cosmopolitan as the pastime and scenery it colours.
The tempting of wheels starts off album and opener The Deer and The Dark, voices from surrounding scenery adding to the atmosphere of the song. Soon though, the attention grabbing voice of Erskine breaks its air with rich mesmeric charm, swiftly joined by a rhythmic coaxing coloured by radiant keys. The song swiftly turns into a funk seeded stroll weaving enchanting melodies into its dramatic lyrical and ambient sunset. Employing samples and riveting brass temptation, the track provides a glorious canter of enterprise and endearing harmonies for one scintillating entrance into the album.
Its glory is matched straight away by Bike With No Name, male vocals taking the lead fully backed by the increasingly transfixing voice of Erskine. With a folk intimacy to its again funky gait, the song idles up to the imagination and caresses it with a seductive blend of vocals and flirtatious melodies from guitar and keys. A darker throat of bass only adds to the infectious bait but it is the pair of vocalists which ignites emotions most prominently and potently. Though music wise there is a distinct difference, vocally and in the impact and quality of their union, the two singers remind of Dizraeli and Cate Ferris from Dizraeli and The Small Gods.
An intriguingly enticing bass lure opens up the next up Zebra, its tone kissed by discord blessed resonance. It is soon joined by both sets of vocals as a jazzy climate and seducing comes over the senses. The song is a delicious blend of distinctively different shades, melodic flames and light slowly grazing on the emotions whilst the darker shadows of bass and a slightly twisted invention to certain chords and notes add a mouth-watering and unpredictable texture to the sultriness. Its glorious presence is matched straight away by Traffic Light Crush, an irresistible croon with romantic tones and catchy revelry in its magnetic dance. Thoughts of eighties band Jim Jiminee easily come to the surface as the brief track sets down another majestic pinnacle on the album, its tango of sound and imagination refusing to leave even after the song has departed ears.
The first single from the album, Slow Jam (Look Out) comes next, its soulful swing of melodies and emotion revealing vocals a gentle and elegant kiss on the senses. As the album, it is impossible not to be thoroughly captivated and mesmerised by it, every aspect from the breath-taking vocals of Erskine to the smouldering flame of trumpet, and the velvet hug of bass to the sizzling harmonies, a poetic toxicity seducing and immersing blissful ears and thoughts. Its gentleness is emulated by the funkier flight of Freewheel, a melodic glide which strokes thoughts and passions from start to finish with a lean structure within provocative beauty.
Both Wobbly and White Bike add new tantalising hues to the release, the first a wash of emotive melodies over a skittish percussive tempting, which itself is hand in hand with the heavier, ever enticing tone of bass. There is a relaxed giddiness to the song too, imagination swirling in its creative sun and similarly flowing sounds before moving on to its successor. The second of the pair slips into something even more leisurely comfortable energy and gait wise whilst turning up the heat with its impassioned and earnest climate lyrically and emotionally as it fully enchants the senses.
For personal tastes the first half of the album is the strongest with its array of lively explorations but there is no escaping or dismissing the spellbinding beauty and majesty of the two songs, and also the following Rat Race. With bubbly electro spicing starting things off before vocals and bass soon lay down their catchy lures, the track is a compelling portrait of fleet footed life. Sounds almost flit across ears, each a different personality in the vibrantly moving scenery whilst the lead vocals provide a singular almost out of sync view inside the tunnel flowing fast around them.
The album is brought to a close by firstly the emotive balladry of Road Out, a track which brews and grows into an imposingly drawn ambience as its melodies and vocals immerse ears, and lastly Wheelie. The final track is a fifty second electro jazz funk romp which hits straight away like The Tom Tom Club but leaves before you can really get your teeth into it. It is a final smile though to an exceptional release.
Iron Horse is simply majestic, a richly hued collection of sounds crafted into an unforgettable and virulently infectious soundscape of adventure. Me For Queen may not have you turning to peddle power with their album but will surely have you breeding a hungry appetite for their sensational sounds.
Iron Horse is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/iron-horse/id913647443
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from