If you poke around on D.C. dream rock band Queue’s Facebook page a bit, you’ll find a mission statement written shyly in all lowercase: “guitars are still cool.” Queue makes a compelling case for them on their vibrant third single, “Frontier,” and it isn’t shy about it.
In a few respects, “Frontier” tracks as an early ‘90s indie rock song with a modern veneer applied over the top of it, and the tasteful production goes a long way here. The band leaps out of the gate with an over-caffeinated burst of drums and guitar, and there are often three guitar lines happening at once. It’s easy to lose oneself in the echoing oh-oh-ohs of the chorus or in the occasional ambient noise that fades in and out seemingly from nowhere. But where the instrumentation is energetic and forward-pushing, the lyrics of “Frontier” are more concerned with reflection and cool detachment.
“I caught you in a lie / I caught you and you know it,” croons vocalist Olivia Price. While Price’s vocals are distant, dreamy and dazed, they only offer the briefest of respites from the vibrant, noisy instrumentation. “Frontier” creates tension in this fire-and-ice dichotomy between collected vocals and frenetic guitars.
When Price laments, “I said a million times/This isn’t what I wanted,” her irritation is mirrored by the incessant guitars bubbling just below the surface, and you can feel the rest of the band anxiously tapping their feet waiting to turn up the volume again.
“Frontier” lives up to its name. For Queue, this style of unabashed, uptempo indie-rock is being explored publicly for the first time. Just like a frontier, it’s enticing on its own merits and for the view it offers of what’s to come.