Evolution and Rebirth
A lot has changed since The Black Queen put out their debut album, Fever Daydream. The group, comprised of Greg Puciato (Dillinger Escape Plan), Josh Eustis (Nine Inch Nails, Telefon Televiv, Pucifer) and Steven Ryan (Tech for Kesha, Nine Inch Nails and A Perfect Ciricle), have been through various traumas and have had to rebuild their project from the ground up. Their new album Infinite Games demonstrates an injection of maturity, seriousness and technical growth for the group. The industrial pop-flavored alternative R&B the group delivers is darker, colder and yet more emotional. Puciato’s often heavy vocals are enveloped in various electronic music sound palettes, from stripped back UK dub to electro-pop and industrial music.
The intro “Even Still I Want To” features heavily processed vocals over a dramatic synth atmosphere. The production is alien, dramatic and spacious while Puciato sings about cutting the pain from his heart. “Thrown Into the Dark” is a grandiose industrial pop track with a hint of nostalgia. “No Accusations” sounds like if Justin Timberlake made futuristic alternative R&B. The lyrics are a bit cheesy, but the bassline and the production make up for it.
“Your Move” is very much influenced by UK garage and dub, with the off-kilter drums and dark minimal production. The song is long-winded, but Puciato delivers haunting vocals around good production. “Lies About You” is super catchy, danceable and has a beautiful ambient passage near the end comprised of ghostly audio loops. The second half of the album is one pop anthem after another. Some of the vocal performances almost sound reminiscent of mid-2000s punk, while others sound like sexy ’80s pop.
The group pushes themselves on Infinite Games, an album revealing the group’s potential and diverse influence. Touches of avant-garde alien textures add to an otherwise nostalgic, electronic-based pop sound. While there are a few cliché moments, The Black Queen finds their lane and hopefully continue to evolve and experiment.