Hot off the DIY scene, Queen Zee release a 10-track debut Queen Zee, a varied, excellent and thrilling album that, despite the band outright rejecting the label of ‘punk’ in interviews, oozes punk from its very ethos and don’t-give-one attitude.
There are some comparisons to larger artists that a first listen might initially drive you to make, but it is unfair to do so; Queen Zee make every song their own and provide something for fans of every genre. ‘Loner’ being the most interesting example, a catchy gut-punch of a starter with a western twang, as well as ‘I Hate Your New Boyfriend’, which is what Avril Lavigne’s 2007 ‘Girlfriend’ might have sounded like for an 18+ audience with a bottle of Smirnoff in hand. Each song is distinctive both stylistically and lyrically, with zero filler; from the raw thrash of ‘Sissy Fists’ to the angry-mob jab at ‘PC gone mad’ culture in ‘Victim Age’.
As the band’s name suggests, deriving from the reclaimed homophobic slur, the band use their music to raise issues. The topics of homophobia and transphobia are sprinkled evenly throughout – a distinctive, constant flavour that avoids overpowering anything else. ‘Boy’ is the main exception and phenomenal for it; Queen Zee proving they can masterfully toe the line between serious and cheeky, delivering the latter with a waggling tongue and the former with a slap. Throwaway lines summate struggles of transgender life: “They’ll cut you down if you don’t cut that hair”, but the track develops to retell a transphobic assault.
“They hate me ‘cause I’m not like them,” becomes, a verse later, “Do you hate me or just want to kiss?” which definitively tilts the album towards a middle-finger-to-the-haters approach.
Clocking in at just over half an hour, it can only really be complained that the album is too short. Other than that, Queen Zee is a stellar debut from a staggeringly intriguing group.