I would start my opinion of this album with a quirky anecdote or a short allegory describing what the album means to me, yet Closet Disco Queen have made my life less complicated by including such a description with their promotional copies. The press release concerns a story about a nasty cheerleader whom ejects from your auntie’s closet, queue jumps the lines at clubs, all of which while being carried around by two sexy bodyguards. Undoubtedly this is a very exciting narrative, but I found it hard to make a connection between this giddy lass and the bearded lady-of-smoke that graces the album’s cover art. In the same way, “Closet Disco Queen” shows the listener two faces; one that has tonnes of energy and likes to party, and another ‘inner’ face that is more profound and pensive.
RELEASE DATE: 12 June 2015 LABEL: This Charming Man Records, Division Records, Hummus Records
Contrarily to what Jona Nido and Luc Hess would like to make you think, introspection and pondering are two major musical themes on this self-titled math rock epos. Even though the album is full of energy, there are many moments where the Swiss duo tone things down so the listener can sink back into his thoughts. The nine-minute long “Catch You on the Flip Side” for example, with its intense tribal drum texture, is characterised by a “Heart of Darkness” atmosphere. The intensifying triple time beat stages a dramatic interplay of looming guitars and a deep, guttural bass, before culminating in a grand overture of the songs main theme. “IYD (In Your Dreams)” on the other hand is a shorter track which functions as a contemplative reinterpretation of the preceding song as it hearkens back to the “Shag Wag”-intro. However, instead of cultivating the soft guitars into a violent jam, Jona Nido finishes his speaking in a softer, more insistent voice, like a friend who is entreating you to leave this girl hanging.
The music on “Closet Disco Queen” is generally well-contemplated, even though it doesn’t seem obvious at the first listen – this album features high quality songwriting and great musicianship. Album opener “Hey Sunshine!” is seemingly an energetic introduction to the album, but after a few listens, the crafty balance of its structure becomes apparent. The compositions on “Closet Disco Queen” are like the methodology of Japanese product development – well-planned and concise, yet the music is highly infectious and vocals were never so obsolete. Through their versatile songwriting and employment of different styles and influences, Nido and Hess bear the mark of great composers. “Closet Disco Queen” is covered in a haze of psychedelic math rock, but “What’s Your 20?” makes “Hey Sunshine!” and “Caposhi” coalesce seemlessly in an effortless cloud of ambient noise. The song does not simply function like a breather, but it follows as a natural calm behind the three minutes of violent storm that preceded it.
Closet Disco Queen end their first effort with the eleven-minute long “Black Saber”, which is to this album, what “Since I’ve Been Loving You” was to “Led Zeppelin III”. The mysterious elegance of this song closes the album in style and fossilises “Closet Disco Queen” as a delight to listen to. Rarely was an instrumental rock record so eloquent and utterly joy-inducing, yet at the same time the music looms and leaves you to ponder, which is a quality rarely found in rock music today.