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Queen City Kids - 1982 Black Box



ARTIST: Queen City Kids
ALBUM: Black Box
LABEL: Epic
SERIAL: ARE 38085
YEAR: 1982

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Alex Chuaqui - vocals, guitars * Kevin Fyhn - guitars, vocals * John Donnelly - bass * Jeff Germain - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Black Box * 02 Chains * 03 In Your Eyes * 04 Dance * 05 Girls * 06 Crazy In Love * 07 Ripped Off * 08 Looking For You * 09 Rock And Roll Junkie * 10 Bangin' On The Door


Background
Here's another Canadian band with its origins sourced from the prairie heartland of Winnipeg. Following in the footsteps of contemporaries Streetheart and Harlequin came the Queen City Kids. The band retained the essence of what made those two bands popular out in the Canadian provinces, containing ample energy, youthful exuberance and a musical approach combining straight-ahead hard rock with a light sprinkling of power-pop. Probably a good comparison would be Streetheart meets Cheap Trick, though the singer Alex Chuaqui sounds a lot like a young Gerry McGhee (Brighton Rock) at times. After working their way through countless bars out of their hometown Regina and releasing a demo tape, the band eventually found a home at CBS/Epic Records, who were impressed enough to sign them. Their self titled debut appeared in 1981, the band toured throughout Western Canada and even ventured into the USA. A year later, the band returned for album number two 'Black Box'. A new producer (Rob Freeman) plus a tighter array of songs combined to make this a closet classic. Musically it's straight-ahead hard rock, but the songs are rather appealing, even without a keyboard player as was the norm for many Canadian bands at the time!


The Songs
Well, all I can say, if you are fan of Streetheart, then you will love this album. It certainly made it easy for me to enjoy upon hearing it. The title track 'Black Box' is a good example, energetic and fun. More subdued is the brooding affair that is 'Chains', though the chorus is naggingly good. 'In Your Eyes' is more melodic mayhem, a great contender for radio, while 'Dance' was set out to achieve just that, a crowd pleaser at their live gigs. 'Girls' is mid-paced melodia, not unlike fellow Canadians Haywire but without keyboards. A lovely tune nonetheless. More straight-ahead mayhem but with very melodic overtones is 'Crazy In Love'. This time there are keyboard parts toward the end of the song. The heaviest the band get is on 'Ripped Off', a superb guitar riff-fest, reminding me of a very melodic AC/DC. The band completely reverse gears on their first attempt at a serious ballad with 'Looking for You', And despite the effort, the arrangement ends up kinda messy. Getting their hands and feet dirty on 'Rock And Roll Junkie' is more to the bands liking. The manic power-pop energy sounding like Chicago band Off Broadway on steroids! The album closer 'Bangin' On The Door' is pure seventies swamp rock, and if some of those Southern rockers from back then appeal to you (a la Hydra, Atlee etc) , then this track will appeal to your time-challenged sensibilities.


In Summary
The album featured a few tracks on FM Playlists throughout Canada, and the band extended their touring run, this time to points in Eastern Canada, and further inroads into the USA. Despite the musical improvement, Epic did not renew its option on the band and pulled the plug. The band continued on regardless well into the eighties. A compilation of the two QCK albums was released in 1989, and it certainly is worth searching out as I feel this band are deserving of an honorable mention.. and they get it here at GLORY-DAZE. Again, fans of Streetheart are encouraged to check out QCK. Could 'Black Box' be the minor classic that passed us by? I think so.


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Comments
#1 | Nick C on August 23 2008 15:27:04
I bought this album years ago and love it....sad story attached though - I paid full import price back in 82/83 whatever and my mate picked it up a couple of years later for 49p at a shop when we were on a boating holiday on the Thames (lovely) and mocked me for the rest of the holiday! I can barely listen to it now due to him!
Seriously a great album and again the song Girls and Dance used to be a dancefloor faves at the Banshee rock club in Manchester years ago. The first album is well worth searching out too.
Also the compilation CD I saw in a bargain bin a few years ago at Muse Music in Hebden Bridge and like an idiot I never bought it and now you have to pay a small fortune to buy it!
QCK my cursed band!
#2 | rkbluez on February 10 2012 01:26:40
Solid Canadian rock...not amazing but still worth owning.

I bought that QCK compilation CD for $5 brand new when I worked at the shop...our import wholesaler had it on the sale sheet...I think it's got most of the tracks from 'Black Box' but not sure as I dumped the vinyl years ago...shitty packaging but I guess I won't complain it's better than not having it.
#3 | gdazegod on April 04 2014 02:36:02
Have always like the cover of this album..
#4 | Nick C on December 07 2016 13:34:13
Just listening to this again today, still like this loads...a pity they split as on this I feel their writing skills were really progressing and stuff was getting a little more off the wall and interesting. I would have liked a third album. The guys are still doing the rounds though reforming for gigs every so often, here's their website http://www.queencitykids.com/

Alex Chuaqui...I've just found out released an album under the name Bag, it sounds pretty good listening to the samples at Amazon.com, not sure about the first track but either way I've scored a copy off eBay for a couple of quid
....let's hope it arrives (coz currently every CD I send for from overseas is going missing)
#5 | Nick C on December 08 2016 15:13:28
..and it arrived today, less than 24hrs after ordering.It actually came from Liverpool not overseas...god knows how I mixed that up (so I'll stop moaning about Xmas deliveries now). Sounds okay so far...it's kind of reminding me a little of a roughed up version of Horizontal Ladies Club...I think I need to listen more Smile
#6 | gdazegod on December 08 2016 18:31:03
Good that you picked this up in double quick time Nick. Not so good that some of your other deliveries are still in limbo.
#7 | reyno-roxx on December 08 2016 19:27:12
I remember Gene Simmons raving about this great new artist he'd discovered called Bag. He signed Alex to Simmons Records and Alex appeared on Simmons' 'Asshole' solo record. Unfortunately the Bag album was dead in the water even before it was released with zero promotion or interest.
 
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