In The Press
“It is this heart one hears most of all deep down in the fibers of these songs, and what, in the end, makes The Pearl such a rare and beautiful find.”
As Reviewed in the music blog "Oh Just Eat It"
It’s Canada Day and I’m reviewing the MacQueens.
THE MACQUEENS are a Canadian married music duo based in Kitchener, Ontario. Kris MacQueen tells me they’re “known for compelling songwriting, rich vocal harmonies and intricate instrumentation”. They’ve just released a new single, “Ordinary Man” from their upcoming debut studio album You & Me & Everything, which is slotted to drop mid-summer.
THE MACQUEENS are doing an amazing job getting out there on social media. They have a website and are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Soundcloud and YouTube. They are also using Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Deezer to hock their tunes. They are doing everything right. They recorded the album at Anchour Studio, Wyndham, Maine, and are using a mastering engineer in Nashville. I don’t know why everyone thinks you can get a better recording in the U.S. than in Canada, but it certainly shows they are taking this seriously and making an investment. Besides, the trip would be fun.
It’s alt-rock and a nice sing-alongable song. They have even created an uber-cute Lyric video to sing along with (I’d like to know who did the video, I love it). I see a future karaoke hit.
So far they don’t have much to say. They’re new. They have released one EP “The Pearl” and now have their new album You & Me & Everything to push out to the masses.
MacQueen (Kris) wanted me to review the single “Ordinary Man”, which I’m happy to do, but I had never heard of THE MACQUEENS and I was more curious about who they were. Kris and Livia MacQueen have been married for about 18 years and suddenly are embarking on a music career together. They are good. Their sound is pleasant and oh so Canadiana. Canadians are dying for more Canadiana. We miss Gord Downey and The Tragically Hip. We are looking for some Canadian story to follow for the next 2 or 3 decades. We want to hear every lyric in some Canadian’s head and we want to know them intimately.
After checking out THE MACQUEENS, I could see them filling this niche. They are not afraid of social media, so if they let us follow their story, their journey, their adventure, we could really get into them. We = Canadians. Take us coast to coast on Youtube, Mr. and Mrs. MacQueen. Share broken down vans at the side of Canadian highways and cute Newfoundland motel rooms on Instagram. Tell us what trouble your spouse is when you are rehearsing.
They even wrote “Ordinary Man” about some local Canadian eccentric guy named Frank Groff, aka, “The Bridgeport General”. Frank is remembered as someone who helped others, but he did everything his own way, refusing to go along with local authorities and often running into trouble with politicians and lawmakers. How Canadian is that!!
THE MACQUEENS are ordinary. I see talented musicians all the time. THE MACQUEENS are talented, but they are doing what many have done. If they can take their very likable tunes and be that guy on their Ordinary Man gold and black graphic…the only guy that isn’t wearing a black shirt…then we’ve got ourselves some exciting Canadiana to fill that hunger we’re all feeling.
Happy Canada Day, 2019, everyone!
4.0 out of 5 - TOP ALBUM
By Jamie Robash
(As reviewed in nomoredivision.com, an indie-music blog.)
As if to test their love even further, husband and wife Kris MacQueen and Livia MacQueen decided after fifteen years of marriage to start a band together. To me the whole idea sounds about as good as playing a round of golf during a lighting storm. However for The MacQueen’s the idea seems a natural progression for each of them to make, sharing now their art as they have their lives for so long. The couple recorded their debut EP The Pearl in the basement and living room of their home in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.
And as if some unseen force were trying to test their will and dedication to making an album together, they recorded the album as the street right in front of their house was being torn up by heavy machinery, something that would have been enough to drive most people mad. But the pair persevered, crafting five quiet and lustrous songs rooted in folk and alt country.
The EP opens with the “The Pearl.” Built upon a slender acoustic guitar melody, “The Pearl” derives its power from Livia MacQueen’s creamy country twang, backed by Kris MacQueen’s soft echoes. “The Pearl’s” lyrics are hinting at religious allegory though the song itself doesn’t come off as preachy. The opening verse, “For so many years I've wandered / Looking for any way to spend / Every penny of my unearned fortune / Trying to buy what I couldn't comprehend” suggests a longing for a more spiritual life. On “Tear it Down” the pair sing together in a beautifully sad harmony about a relationship that has gone sour, over a slow gypsy-styled guitar and bare bones percussion.
The pair pick up the pace a bit on the alt-country rambler “Sweet Child” which leads into the slow wielding gypsy-jazz of “Gallows of Desire” which The MacQueen’s recorded with the assistance of Tony Divito on drums, Geoff Smith on electric guitar and Andre Gignac on the upright bass. The MacQueens close out The Pearl with “The Telling and the Show,” a breathy acoustic and heartfelt ballad that once again showcases their beautiful harmonies.
There is no denying that the MacQueen’s both together and separately have an immense amount of talent. But talent alone is not always enough. Luckily the pair also has a lot of heart. It is this heart one hears most of all deep down in the fibers of these songs, and what, in the end, makes The Pearl such a rare and beautiful find.