Local band March of the Black Queen (the new incarnation of The Good Neighbor Policy) comes out of the gates strong in States. With a sound that is part ’70s ballad-rock, part country and a touch indie rock, the band cranks through a travelogue of eight anthemic, mostly state-named tunes.
Each a lover’s lament, trouble follows them from “Oregon,” where they “never meant to cause you any pain,” to “Virginia,” where “there’s a ghost in my bed.” Rich, dynamic, Eddie Vedder-esque vocals from frontman Thomas Pendarvis soar over a plethora of backings, from violins and cello to slide guitar and piano. The sound bounces comfortably between lighter-raising ballads and lonely laments, like when “Kansas” conjures visions of stadium lightshows, and “Texas” evokes tumbleweed towns. This split personality works incredibly well, the two combining to create a compelling, everyman ethos.
Musically, March of the Black Queen proves to be tight and versatile. States’ production is solid, although when the band hits full stride, the mix can get a little muddy; some songs crave a tweak or two to be stellar. And with such a solid foundation to work with, this band deserves that extra attention to help turn good songs into great ones.
March of the Black Queen plays The Other Side Sunday, March 22, at 9 PM. Dr. Manhattan, Fiancée and The Evergreen open. $5.