Sunday, 30 June 2019

Queen "A Day At The Races" (1976)

Proceeding from the sensational heights of Bohemian Rhapsody on counterpart record A Night At The Opera, British legends Queen return with a shaky response from critics at that time, forty three years ago. I find myself at odds with the criticism weighed upon the band. The former record came with peaks and valleys, songs that soared and delves into pantomime theatrics that dispelled the flow in places. A Day At The Races is a far more leveled and cohesive record where the bands eclecticism sticks like glue without a week spot. The problem is however that not a lot here is that remarkable in comparison. The Millionaire Waltz may be its only soaring moment as playful theater musical jollity collides with riveting Heavy Metal licks at weighty chords that culminate in a mid song eruption of electricity... Only Queen could do this.

Starting to develop a better understand of the band, one can hear creaking similarities and writing crutches in the music. Roger Taylor seems to have an uncanny knack of mustering a distinct persona with his song Drowse, perhaps the vocals give it away but then again this is a band of four song writers and given at least a song each it is no surprise these thumbprints arise. Writing these words I can see how these perspectives can be leveraged against the record but It plays so smoothly.

Rolling from one song to the next it ebbs and flows, Brian May's guitar electrifying when timeless Freddie is absent. These spurts of textural heavy guitar tone erupt, filling key parts of the music with true imagination throughout its run time. The intro has a particular glorious use of tape reversed guitar lead to create a suspenseful opening to the record. It is heard again as the record closes on Teo Torriatte, a song half sung in Japanese that peaks with moving group chorals as it reaches its end. A really firm record that flows far better than anything before it but perhaps suffering from to little of their peak magics yet the songwriting is fantastic at uniting style as you'd expect.

Favorite Tracks: Tie Your Mother Down, The Millionaire Waltz, Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy, Drowse
Rating: 7/10