Kimono Drag Queens – Songs of Worship Review

I was promised sludge. That’s not what I got. Not that I love sludge or anything, but I definitely wanted to know what sludge sounded like coming from a band named Kimono Drag Queens. But no. Copper Feast Records duped me. The shade of it all. Anyway, septet Kimono Drag Queens strut onto the AMG runway regardless, hailing from Sydney and slinging some hella psychedelic blues rock. But I thought we were a metal review blog? Not today, Satan.

Looking at that busted album cover made me suspect Kimono Drag Queens‘ debut, entitled Songs of Worship, to be a trippy romp through sun-kissed fields of sunflowers and flowing creeks. That’s exactly what I got. This is easy listening at its easiest. Layered vocals, delivered with all of the breeziness of early summer wind, soothe my aching neck after countless months of relentless headbanging. Deep, bodyful bass lines add weight to what is otherwise feather light. Surprisingly, there are some seriously fierce rock riffs rattling around this platter, oozing groove and swagger. The percussion offers a ton of interesting sounds and patterns to the affair as well, so there’s plenty of variety on hand. At a lithe thirty minutes and change, Songs of Worship is a short journey, so letting the music play again and again becomes effortless.

“Songs of Worship” opens the record, jumping right in to the kaleidoscope of sound one comes to expect from psychedelic rock. Atmospheric, yet rooted in supple grooves and bluesy hooks, the song makes quick work of drilling into my brain. Much of the record falls in the same category. Easy to enjoy and easy to recall. Part of what makes the album memorable is the band’s ability to juggle aspects of their sound depending on what needs to stick the most. For example, “Hunters in the Snow” features more vocal lines and catchy choruses than any other song, and therefore contains fewer notable riffs or solos in exchange. “Wild Animals,” which is perhaps my favorite track, puts a lot of blues energy into a song with simple lines and never tries to squeeze vocals in while a guitar plays a jazzy lick or the bass drops a sick groove. There’s a subtle darkness to that song in particular as well. It’s nothing overtly threatening, but it’s enough to give the record an unexpected bite.

What really bites about Songs of Worship, though, is how short it is. I know, I know, my tone seems really pointed right now, but it’s true. Making a debut this skimpy guarantees that those who try it once will try it twice without a second thought, but it feels to me like Kimono Drag Queens had more to offer than what they presented. For example, “Evil Desires” should have some kind of companion piece before the uplifting closer “Willy’s World” gently caresses me in the warmth of sunlight. It’s a quick shot that doesn’t get a chance for any real resolution, nor does it serve as counterpart for any song before it. As a result, it feels like an afterthought, which sucks because it’s a good song. Just because it’s a good song, though, doesn’t mean the disruption it perpetrates to the overall flow of the album becomes invisible. In fact, considering how trim Songs of Worship is, that seemingly innocuous blip becomes impossible to ignore.

At the end of the day, my criticisms are but water off a duck’s back. For something smooth and relaxing to ease your troubled mind, and likely your even more troubled vertebrae, you could do much worse than Kimono Drag QueensSongs of Worship has everything a psychedelic rock record should have: atmosphere, groove, memorable lines, leads, and just the right kind of riffs. What it lacks is content, and because of that it also suffers a bit in flow. Fix that, and Kimono Drag Queens will have something truly sickening to offer come album two. Don’t fuck it up!


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Copper Feast Records
Websites: facebook.com/kimonodragqueens | kimonodragqueens.bandcamp.com
Releases Worldwide: November 6th, 2020

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