CCQUEEN is a progressive and alternative rock band from Bordeaux, France, that formed in 2015. Its members, multifaceted musicians, offer a sound that is both heavy and airy. In their first EP, “Nancy,” poetry and emotion meet to create a unique, complex, and psychedelic musical universe where intense and obsessive dreams seem to come to life in a raw reality. Now, two years after their debut EP, CCQUEEN has released a full-length album called Scavenger (released on 10/11/2022), and it contains all the elements of Nancy but with a more nuanced approach.
Containing 11 tracks, Scavenger blends psychedelic and stoner with a poetic influence that affects the vocal approach and the lyrics. I wasn’t sure about them when I pushed play on the first track, as the vocals seemed a bit odd. However, as I got further into the album, I found that it was just the intro section that felt off and that the rest of the album was full of outstanding vocal work.
As I mentioned above, “Common Sense” got off to an odd start, but that was only because I was expecting something other than what I got, which is always a recipe for disappointment. Once I settled into the vocals, I realized that my initial impressions weren’t entirely accurate.
It’s fairly obvious that Nick Cave influenced the vocal work here, as was Jim Morrison on the poetic end of things. The music underneath is mellow, with an almost ’90s alternative feel, but does pick up a bit in certain spots, creating the dynamics that help keep the music interesting for the listener. The transitions from mellow to slightly more rocking is put together perfectly, gliding you in and out of the two feels with precision and care. The last piece of the song has a Spanish vibe due to the percussion and guitar parts, giving the listener an excellent way to come out of the track.
Song number two is called “Anarchy One,” coming in as the best track on the first half of the album.
I really dig the use of acoustic guitars here; they add something natural sounding, especially when used in unison with some mildly overdriven guitars; that’s a main factor of why I enjoy this track as much as I do.
I detected some vocal bits that reminded me of David Byrne (Talking Heads), an influence I don’t hear nearly enough in modern times. As with “Common Sense,” their use of peaks and valleys was on point, with the vocals taking part in that in a big way.
CCQUEEN did what most bands do and included a title track, yet they went one step further by adding two of them, separated by simply adding Part 1 and Part 2 to the titles.
“Scavenger Part 1” has the tone of a lone poet on a stage while music plays in the background. The intro is haunting thanks to the vocal delivery, and the deep background oooohhhs add to that vibe. A minute and a half into the song, the music picks up a more psychedelic vibe, with the vocals adding a more singing type of style while remaining in that poetic, spoken word area that works exceptionally well here.
“Scavenger Part 2” has a beautiful piano part, a little cello, and the perfect vocal execution for the two. I don’t know about any of you fine readers, but I adore the sounds of a piano and the cello; both instruments have their own sound, and they work together exquisitely during this song.
This may sound odd, but CCQUEEN throws in a cover of Green Day’s “Basket Case.”
This cover is totally reimagined and bears minimal similarities to the original, except the lyrics are the same. Dominated by piano, cello, and an overall jazzy feel, this version has more in common with Pink Floyd than with Green Day, making for one of the best covers of a Green Day song I’ve ever heard.
Closing out the album is “Delicious,” which has an intro that brought The Doors to my mind, but maybe a bit more on the psychedelic end of the spectrum. As the music continues, it remains fairly mellow, with the vocals creating dynamic shifts during the first 2 minutes. After this, the music starts to build up for a bit, as do the vocals, only for them to settle back into the softer sounds of the first section.
CCQUEEN has created an album that wouldn’t usually be my thing but that I enjoyed thoroughly anyway. The way they write and arrange things and the vocal execution are all very well done, and I suggest you guys give them a listen today. Enjoy!!!
Support CCQUEEN by checking out their Bandcamp and website, or finding them on social media (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube).
This review was written by Tom Hanno, who has been writing reviews for the last 7 years but has been sharing his love of music for the majority of his life. Originally starting out at the now defunct Chimera Magazine, he is currently contributing to Doomed and Stoned, The Sleeping Shaman, The Doom Charts, Tom’s Reviews, and The Third Eye. Read more of Tom’s reviews by checking out his Linktree.