By: Hope Ankney
The rumbling of waves pulls you back from your drifting thoughts- thoughts that have been wading through your tremulous mind, sloshing against your ears begging for attention. It’s been a while since you swam to them. When brought back to your body, you find yourself sitting by the ocean’s edge, the water lapping at your feet. It’s dark, the only light being from the moon’s reflection and that of nearby houses that haven’t bid goodnight. You’re not lonely, you’re comfortable- listening to the calming sea and letting your mind explore the thoughts that daylight hides. Whether it’s the scenery or the light hum of music in the distance, you’re unaware of the daydream you’re in, and it all starts with Queen of Jeans.
Being a Philadelphia crockpot pop band, it’s hard to imagine that Queen of Jeans originated anywhere besides southern California. With their dreamy vibe and lush instrumentals, the group proves that sound is a state of mind and can be pulled from anywhere. This follows their debut album Dig Yourself with its surf-pop musicality and breezy twang that could rival the likes of Beach House themselves. Retro, evocative, and haunting are all terms that could describe this record making it an album that’s hard to disappoint.
The group seems to be twin flames with other dream-pop artists like Florence & The Machine and Banks. Lead singer, Miriam Devora provides vocals kindred to 90’s artist Hope Sandoval which lures the listener in on Dig Yourself. Her hazy voice fused with gleamy melodies create an atmosphere that is hard to uproot from once immersed.
The record seems to follow a story arc of a relationship, allowing each track to merge into one another until the last track closes with the relationship’s end. In between the beachy opener, “More to Love” and the closing of “Spaces,” the record showcases a more than pleasurable mix of indie pop, shoegaze, and 60’s beach rock that is highly prevalent on “U R My Guy,” a track that has one reminiscing on a slicked hair greaser they’ve never met. Each tune has a romantic flare that borders on sweet that relaxes the listener even as Devora croons out profound lyrics that are masked by the innocence of the overlaid music.
As the album progresses, so does the tone- offering darker instrumentals and sultry vocals that seamlessly fit into the downward slope of a relationship’s timeline. The once upbeat and swirling sounds are replaced with haunting undertones as “Heads Turn” begins. This theme trails the rest of the project.
Surprisingly enough, the shortest track, “You’re Never Alone,” clocking in at a little over two minutes, is the standout of the album. It contrasts the rest of the record by being purely acapella, revolving around the theme of isolation and anxiety. The lyrics suggest that even through bouts of loneliness and uncertainty, that “you’ll never be alone with me,” causing a heavy-subject to lift at someone’s affirmation. This song speaks on a much deeper level compared to the others on the album, and its ability to be simple in nature yet so powerful in 124 seconds makes the track remarkable on its own.
Dig Yourself appears to show the message of loving yourself as well as bettering yourself. Throughout catchy tunes and more intense lyrical content, Queen of Jeans shows that surf-rock can have more substance than its surface sound. It can be dynamic, interesting, and gratifying all while being something worth dancing to. So, do yourself a favor and take a listen to Queen of Jean’s Dig Yourself. It’s worth it.