Ryan Spencer and Adam Pressley, doing a brisk business under the Jamaican Queens banner, are the poster children for making lemonade from lemons. Late in 2011, producer/artist Pressley moved to Detroit with the intention of joining Spencer’s group Prussia, which disbanded before Pressley could unpack his luggage. Undeterred, the pair decided against resurrecting the band and chose instead to pursue a home-recording path, dubbing their newly minted arrangement Jamaican Queens and collaborating on their debut album, 2013’s acclaimed and brashly entertaining Wormfood.
Written and recorded in the winter months after solidifying Spencer and Pressley’s partnership (which came to include the vital input of percussionist/philosopher Ryan Clancy), Wormfood was a song cycle on the vagaries of love and the songs that detail those particular woes. It was also a sonic relief map of Jamaican Queens’ schizophonic inspirations, from southern Rap avatars Three 6 Mafia and Gucci Mane and Dub innovator Lee Scratch Perry to Pop/Rock oddballs They Might Be Giants and left-of-mainstream geniuses Ray Davies and Brian Eno. Take a spin through Wormfood’s opener “Water” and try to deny that it’s a masterful mash-up of Eno’s “Baby’s on Fire” and Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away.”
Wormfood was abundant proof that Jamaican Queens could boast an eclectic record store’s worth of influences while injecting every one of them with a potent dose of their own singular weirditude. The band’s latest single, the recently leaked “Bored + Lazy,” a teaser for their upcoming sophomore full-length, continues in Wormfood’s estimable direction, imagining an Electropop séance between the ghost of Joy Division and Deadmau5.
Forget about next week, Jamaican Queens is the future of right now.
JAMAICAN QUEENS play Friday, Nov. 21 at MOTR Pub. Find tickets/more info here.