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The Queen Killing Kings
Tidal Eyes
Wind-Up Records


How do you describe an album that grabs you by the shirt and holds you mesmerized from beginning to end? Strangely, such an album comes from Connecticut's born and bred rock quartet The Queen Killing Kings, whose music is centered around theatrical keyboards played by lead singers Coley O'Toole and Zac Clark and anchored by the rhythm section of bassist Joe Ballaro and drummer Dan Duggins. The band's latest release, Tidal Eyes, demonstrates their ability to gel chamber-laced goth rock and jazz with theater performance, creating a modern day Rocky Horror Picture Show tunage. The music has inventive slash marks, billowy projectiles, and chilling stills in the piano keys with a pinch of '70s and '80s pop influences. Tidal Eyes is an album that will definitely make an impression on audients, whether good or bad.

Without a mundane track in the bunch, Tidal Eyes makes theater-tinged pop likeable and relatable to people's lives. Their lyrics tell tales about lovers, witches, condemned killers, and revenge seekers, just to name a few of the songs' subject matter. [The music] seems predominantly dark, but the piano-pumping rocker "Naked Rain" is unbridled passion at its most exhilarating decibel, and the bubbly vibrations and silos of sonic fumes coursing through "Like Lion" have shards of buoyancy. One of the darkest moments on the album is "Warden" as O'Toole describes the last day of a convicted killer's life as he is led into a gas chamber, and rummages through the thoughts lingering in his head during those final hours. It's a very chilling track with insightful impressions. The sorrowful ethers of the piano keys in "This Night" nuzzle around O'Toole's ghostly vocals, showing an ethereal quality reminiscent of Sarah Brightman. This is where beauty and sadness merge into a memorable union.

O'Toole's narrations are compelling and the theatrical accents in his and Clark's keys are pivotal to the songs with a rhythm section that is astute at hoisting the sails and moving these tracks along their course. The Queen Killing Kings make an excellent four-piece. Their spot-on synchronization and stylish swerves remind me of another rock quartet; that of England's Queen. To TQKK's credit, it's not so bad being compared to Queen; after all, their music lives on today in the collective psyche.

-Susan Frances

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