Monday, June 30, 2014

Queen of Hearts Has Just Stealth Dropped Her Debut Album, Cocoon

The British electropop act Queen of Hearts popped onto our radar in late 2011, with a sleek debut EP that positioned the young singer as the successor to Goldfrapp we'd been waiting for, the one who could bring the glammy club vibe of Black Cherry and Supernature into the post-EDM new decade. Since then, she's been one of the rare developing acts that pretty much seems to have been doing everything right in the leadup to a hopeful (and expected) full-length debut, and without any apparent big-label machinations going on publicly behind the scenes. And today, with little - okay, no fanfare whatsoever, that debut arrived, available for purchase and streaming worldwide. It is called Cocoon.

This sneak attack thing could be deliberate- in fact, you might say her PR approach has been the opposite of your Sam Smiths or Azealia Bankses or Jessie Js: she's not even verified on Twitter, and it's even been difficult to learn much about her at all, including, for a long time, her name. Two other artists famously pulled off the surprise album release late last year, as you might remember, one of them a massive global superstar and the other a long-awaited and oft-delayed debut act. In contrast with a couple expensive, massively hyped flops from other global superstars around the same time, the "less is more" approach certainly seemed to have some obvious benefits, and I've been hoping more artists would try it out going forward. It's a risky strategy for an unknown artist, but the music continues to be good, and that's sort of what counts.

The fourteen-track Cocoon features six excellent previously released tracks, including "Shoot the Bullet" and "Freestyle" from the debut EP, "Neon," one of my favorite singles of 2012, and "Warrior," the lush, West Asian-tinged title track to her third EP. There's also the oft-discussed but until now unreleased "Like A Drug," mentioned (and casually dissed) in a rather snotty Popjustice interview, even for Popjustice, and never heard from again; the music video was also released today.

Usually I like to have listened to something before I write about it here, because I'm not really a news service, but this is too exciting for me to wait to share. As I go off to give Cocoon a good listen, I strongly encourage all pop fans to go and do the same; I hope I've managed to distinguish myself enough from the "everything is awesome" overpraising bloggers that my recommendations of this sort carry some weight, because Queen of Hearts is really one to check out.

But you don't have to take my word for it...

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