At times suffocating and uncompromisingly groove-focused, there’s no getting around the riffing in The Sextape’s new single and lyric video “Queen of the Fools,” which stands as one of the most decadent alternative rock tracks I’ve had the chance to hear this season. You can’t have solid rock of any sort without some righteous riffage serving as a foundation to every sublime moment the music can offer, and in this sense, “Queen of the Fools” is no different from the other tracks this band has released in the past.
What sets it apart in my mind is its colorful aesthetic, which channels much of the group’s metallic leanings into something brutish and slender in comparison to the wallop of mud many of their rivals are producing this year.
The chorus in this single features a wonderful manipulation of tension that, later on in the song, is turned around on us to yield as much cathartic bliss as is possible from within the studio. The Sextape is good at utilizing atmospheric tones and textures without getting too spacy with the framing of their lyrics, unlike a lot of the other bands to arise from the Euro alternative rock underground, but this single takes their experimentation in a different direction than I expected. It’s punky, but this has a non-production-related polish that makes it stand out, even after a single listen.
Construction-wise, “Queen of the Fools” is very much a hard rock track in the shape of a pop song. The delivery flirts with stoner themes ala Queens of the Stone Age in the chorus, but other than that, there’s a case to be made that the band was listening to a lot of insular content when they were hammering out the EQ on the guitars. It’s a guilt-free crossover in so many important ways, and that’s tough to come by anymore.
I would have liked just a little more focus on the bassline in the grander scheme of things, but in the end, the concept that The Sextape was playing with here justifies the limited low-end depth. There is such a thing as being too heavy with a groove, and they circumvented any chances of that by keeping things on a simpler scale in the bass department. Getting a lot of attention from the indie press has taught them a thing or two about making aesthetics that the masses can dig, yet I don’t think they’re letting that guide their creative goals at all.
Longtime fans of The Sextape and first-time listeners alike should find what they’ve compiled in “Queen of the Fools” a more than worthy addition to any summer rock listening session, and it would surprise me a great deal if I were the only critic who thinks so. Overall, I’m looking forward to getting my hands on more of this content from the band in the future, but not solely to hear them recreate this vibe. Summer needs its soundtrack for so many reasons, and if you thought this season was going to be missing some choice rock thunder, The Sextape has got something you need to check out here.
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