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huge choruses and irrepressible musical chemistry

May 9th, 2023

Transatlantic duo Prima Queen may have met by chance, but their connection was surely destined to be. Their story begins with the Chicago-born Kristin McFadden moving to London for a semester abroad to study songwriting. And who happened to be on that course? Her future bandmate and bestfriend Louise Macphail, of course, who’d already decided they’d make music together after seeing a video of McFadden performing online.

A bond formed instantly. Not even McFadden returning to the US for a year could break it, and now six years later, they’re as close as ever. This resilience to change and getting through things together bleeds into the foundations of Prima Queen’s debut EP, ‘Not The Baby’. They complete each other’s melodies, and as both McFadden and Macphail delve into their respective personal dealings lyrically, the other is never too far away, always providing a holding hand.

This level of support can be heard in the duo’s storytelling. Positioning themselves as heartbreakers – “We got tangled up and turned around / I got your hopes up then I went back and let you down” – opener ‘Back Row’ is an instant alt-rock triumph. The track’s crescendoing horns, meanwhile, feel reminiscent of Katy J Pearson’s 2022 album ‘Sound Of The Morning’.

The sweetness of the lush, acoustic number ‘Crows’ feels disparate to the track’s darker themes, complete with a namecheck to Ted Hughes’ seminal 1970 poetry collection of the same name. The band detail his “grief for Sylvia Plath” while exploring creation and life in a mindset of despair, which stretches to observing a crow “bleeding in the grass”. More hopeful than Hughes and his late counterpart, Prima Queen hold each other up with the realisation that, sometimes, those you love are struggling and you can’t fix it, however hard you try.

‘Not My Baby’, while only pushing 13 minutes, attests to the strength of friendship. Prima Queen are a duo so in sync, their support of one another results in a remarkable songwriting prowess, which will continue to evolve as the band reaches a wider audience. They recently placed as runners-up in this year’s Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition, winning them a set at Worthy Farm in June – their biggest show to date. But Prima Queen will continue to move forward with a belief that their irrepressible musical chemistry can get them through anything.


  • Release date: May 3
  • Record label: Big Indie Records


This content was originally sourced and posted at NME »
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