Queen Esther Presents ‘Things Are Looking Up’

Queen Esther selects a swinging, jazzy style for the spry arrangements in “Things Are Looking Up.” With a clear reference point of Billie Holiday, the sound feels alive. Instrumentation goes for this classic kick, as a great deal of flexibility is felt within each piece. She lets the atmosphere expand around her, for this dialogue gives the band a true sense of muscle. Layer upon layer results in this immersive experience as the rhythm, melody, and message merge into one.


Her voice takes a commanding lead with the colorful opener, “Blow, Blossoms,” with the pastoral imagery coming to the forefront, lending the piece poetic imagery. From the elegance of the piano to the upright bass, “Detour Ahead” has a sprawling, reflective stance. “Gold Standard” features gorgeous lyricism with her rich vocals, perfectly expressing many emotions. Pulling back quite a bit, allowing for much space exploration, is the subdued mood of “Glad To Be Unhappy.” A fiery, bluesy explosiveness on “Clean Blue Flame” shows the power of a slow burn, giving the rhythm a loose yet potent edge. Confidence is at the forefront of the defiantly happy “Things Are Looking Up.” Chords have a party-like quality with the quiet celebration of “Paris On The Moon.” “If The Moon Turns Green” ends the album in a reflective stance.

“Things Are Looking Up” has a careful cadence as Queen Esther delves into a celebratory worldview, taking apart an entire history of American culture in a way that becomes serene, even soothing in the right light.