We told you the other week about the CD shop down at Yu Yin Tang now being open and a quick scan of the shelves (well, shelf) tells us we’re going to be in there a lot. The shop’s size reflects the size of the independent music scene in China but it’s quality not quantity that counts and you can find pretty much all the main releases that have come out from the bands at the forefront of Chinese rock in the past few years — saving you from trawling the internet for them or waiting for those bands to tour. Records from Carsick Cars, Hedgehog, Snapline, Cold Fairyland, and the new one from The Honeys were all there along with Beijing Midi festival and PK14 DVDs amongst others.
It was in this corner of YYT that Shanghaiist finally got our grubby little hands on 后海大鲨鱼 (QueenSea Big Shark)’s self-titled long player. We’ve had a few demos on our iTunes for months and have been eagerly awaiting their first full-length studio album. On first listen, it seems that it was definitely worth the wait.
The opening track Lightening Metropolis, with its driving beat and throbbing guitars, sets the scene nicely for the rest of the record and its 3 minute-ish slices of jump-along disco-rock. Sounding at times like Modern Sky label-mates 新裤子 (New Pants) at the top of their game, QSBS fuse dance-like beats with funked up bass and guitars for a sound not unlike New York’s Radio 4. The vocals of lead singer 傅菡 (Fu Han) meanwhile, drip with attitude in a style that, while distinctly her own, has echoes of Le Tigre or The Gossip on stand out tracks like Dirty Mind or No!No!No!
It’s rumoured that the band were dissatisfied with the original production on the album, claiming it made them sound too much like a pop group, and that the record ultimately had to be remixed to bring back a rockier tone. While there are a few tracks where QSBS come close to an 80’s disco sound, generally the album retains a certain edginess throughout. In addition to more polished tracks like the excellent Lady Sisters and Kiss! Kill! Bang! — where the band reach their most electro-poppy — there are also several unadulterated rock numbers, like the outstanding Get Away and Money F**ker, with bursts of crashing guitars and fast-paced hooks.
Overall, this is probably the most fun rock record from a Chinese band since last year’s excellent Noise Hit World by fellow Beijingers Hedgehog, and it should help QSBS cement their reputation as one of the bands to watch in China — something you can do quite literally when they come to Shanghai this weekend.
QSBS live (check out Shanghaiist’s weekend live music preview later this week for more info):
Friday 18th: STD party, Living Design Centre, 1F, Building N, 407 Yishan Lu near Kaixuan Lu