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The Queen Mother's Dead

Brighton's Heavy Load serve up a classic garage-punk chock full of honesty, anger, beauty and a size 10, kick up the ass, clout.

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by Paul Hawkins, for outsideleft.com
originally published: August, 2006
A slow drone builds up, with a sound like squawking, demented seagulls in the background...
Heavy Load
The Queen Mother's Dead
(Get In Or Get Out)



Heavy Load launched The Queen Mother's Dead to critical acclaim in their local manor, Brighton, with an opening bow at the prestigious Ocean Rooms.

TQMD is chock full of wired energy. It's raw, retro, garage-band rock played with total punk commitment. Flowing through these tracks is lead singer Simon Barker's white hot vocal delivery reminiscent of a Johnny Rotten/Iggy Pop/Joe Strummer crossbred mongrel. He fucking means it. Guitarist Mick Williams shares some of the lead vocals, and the band pitch in racously, but it is Simon who gives the real vocal impetus to Heavy Load.

The album opens with the Heavy Load theme tune, featuring some magical Theremin played by rhythm guitarist, Jimmy Nicholls. The rhythm section, Michael White (drums) and Paul Richards (bass) immediately signal their intention to drive the `Loads songs with power. Their audacious cover of Queen Kylie`s Cant Get You Out Of My Head is heavier and more honest than her watery pop classic. A blast through Neil Hefti`s Batman segues into the seminal (Come and get it now) Frank Butcher - the bands deconstruction of the EastEnders Pringle Shark himself; yup, all punk attitude with a large dose of sneery zest. Don't know what Frank's got coming to him, but you can bet your bottom dollar it's gonna be rock hard.

Friends and Family gives you a breather, a laid back groove, recalling Shaun Ryder's Black Grape crew, a heartfelt tribute to the importance of relationships.

A thrash through Psycho steams straight into The Stranglers JJ Burnel sounding bass intro, which pulses through and drives their cover of Groove Amanda's: Shaking that Arse. This version famous car advert soundtrack aint gonna sell no Reanults, more like something the size of an oil tanker.

I think Joe Strummer might be nodding appreciatively somewhere at their version of Sonny Curtis' I Fought the Law. And Louie Louie is garage rocked for your pleasure.

The final track, the `Load penned title track of the album is a real experimental sounding number, like Public Image in their less bloated days. A slow drone builds up, with a sound like squawking, demented seagulls in the background. This drops in and out to slices of short, spoken word performances. The song ends with a desperate shout from Simon - of relief, pleasure, frustration who knows? A mixture of all three and some more, I would guess.

All in all, if you like your music bland watered down Top 10 crap, run for the hills. Heavy Load serve you up a garage punk album that is chock full of honesty, anger, beauty and a size 10, kick up the ass, clout.

Get In Or Get Out.

As your Attorney, I really advise you to Get In. NOW...Ķ...Ķ...Ķ...Ķ...Ķ

I originally wrote about Heavy Load, a few weeks back. Inspired by the band who have recorded this album. Things slipped into a rant about Disability Rights issues as some of the band members are disabled.

Aside from the album release, a roughcut of their documentary has  been shown at the Brighton Film Festival, where it received much attention and accolades. There are now broader distribution deals in the works for both the film and the album as well as enough of the Queen's shilling to fund a trip to, NYC, for some gigs. Watch this space...............................
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Paul Hawkins

Paul Hawkins has been interested in popular culture and music, protest and survival for as long as we can remember. He began writing about things, making music and other noise at an early age. Paul has interviewed musicians, writers, poets, protestors and artists.

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