Ah, they don’t make them like this any more. More’s the pity. Containing homespun values and the kind of laidback swagger that you dream of as an aspirant performer, Dairy Queen Queen is as disarming and charming a track as you’re ever likely to hear.
At once playful and intelligent, it starts off in the most unhurried and ambient of ways, with sparse guitar work and ambient creaks and faint clicks as the microphone picks up everything in the room that made a noise at the same time as the guitar.
And while we talk about the guitar work, let us note that it’s fearsome! Fast, cool, accurate and very human. Lovely use of harmonics, too.
When the percussion and slide guitar arrive along with the bass, it’s the aural equivalent of a loved one sneaking up and giving you an unexpected hug. In this cold and cynical work, Dairy Queen Queen is a much-loved winter coat. Sam Levin’s voice is a confident and calming delight, as smooth as you like, and yet navigating effortlessly between chest voice and falsetto. Some warming backing vocals support and cuddle the listener through to the most comforting conclusion: ‘Is that alright?’
I should say so. A magnificently accomplished track that gets better each time you listen to it. I’m a sucker for lyrics that mention brand names, as, for me, it roots the song’s narrative in our reality. Yet the effect of this song is still spiritual indeed. Great!