Let me sing a song for you, Queen of the Wave
let me spin a tale that's true.
A story about the days of song,
the days before the ocean won.
is Pepe Deluxe
's fourth studio album, released in 2012.
The cover declares it "an esoteric pop opera
in three parts
", and it certainly lives up to that description. The story—adapted from the 1899 novel A Dweller On Two Planets
and its semi-official 1940 sequel An Earth-Dweller's Return
—concerns the heroic Zailm and the evil wizard Mainin. Their struggles play out against the decline and fall
of the Atlantean empire
Musically, the album is a fusion of numerous styles
, most prominently Psychedelic Rock
, Baroque Pop
, and Surf Rock
This album provides examples of:
- All There in the Manual: While the broad strokes of the plot may be gleaned just from listening to the music, a lot the of details (like the esoteric technology, or characters' names) only show up in the liner notes, in the online album supplements, or the album trailer.
- Anachronism Stew: Recording equipment dates from the 1890s to the 1980s. The liner notes artwork are a cut-and-paste mishmash of Victorian art and 1960s kitsch.
- The Ark: "Riders on the First Ark", with Nepth and his family escaping Atlantis on a boat.
- Atlantis: The setting.
- Bittersweet Ending: The album ends with all the protagonists and antagonists dead, and Atlantis sunk into the ocean. However, a handful of survivors escape and find a new home for humanity to rebuild, "and the future will sparkle again."
- Bolero Effect: "Queenswave" repeats a chorus and instrumental motif three times, adding instruments and volume with each repetition. The second half of "Grave Prophecy" repeats a motif while increasing the tempo and volume.
- Book Ends: The opener, "Queenswave", and the closing track, "Riders of the First Ark", are tied together by guest vocalist Chris Cote.
- Crossover Cosmology: The Greek story of Atlantis is merged with the pre-flood history from Genesis. The knowledge and technology of Atlantis is a direct result of man eating from the Tree Of Knowledge in Eden (unlike the Biblical account, this is portrayed as an unambiguously good turn of events), and Nepth is just Noah by a different name.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Mainin's love interest was stoned to death, based on false evidence. In response, Mainin vowed vengeance against all mankind.
- Everything Is an Instrument: Instruments featured on the album include a Tesla coil synthesizer and the Great Stalacpipe Organ, which produces music by striking hollowed cave stalactites. Recording equipment featured on the album includes A.D. Conrow's Spectrumizer and Optical Spectrum Analyzer (which convert audio signals into light waves, separate light waves into separate frequencies, then convert them back into audio) and the Aether Modulator (a device, based on Thomas Edison's research into communicating with the dead, which converts sound to magnetism and vice versa).
- Fading into the Next Song: The entire album is continuously mixed; every song runs into the following track in a subtle or not-so-subtle manner.
- Götterdämmerung: The destruction of Atlantis, and the loss of its knowledge and wisdom.
- If It Swims, It Flies: The vailx-ships function both as airships and submarines.
- Laser-Guided Karma:
- The Anthropomorphic Personification of Karma literally hunts and kills Zailm for his wrongdoing.
- Atlantis is destroyed because "All the people, with their flaws, / they forgot the book of laws."
- Light Is Not Good: "A poetic synopsis of Mainin's (whose name means 'light') first steps to becoming a light adrift on the sea, a lure to death for all those who followed him."
- Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: Queen of the Wave: Deluxé Edition. Includes more liner notes, a bonus CD of Cut Songs and Easy Listening remixes, and a DVD with music videos.
- Monster Sob Story: Mainin had already turned to the Black Arts to seek knowledge, but it was the death of the woman he loved that provoked him into complete supervillainy.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: This album straddles the lines separateing Psychedelic Rock, Baroque Pop, and Surf Rock, with additional influences from early electronic music, soul, acid folk, 60's girl-band pop, trip-hop, easy listening, and opera.
- Real Trailer, Fake Movie: The "Queen of the Wave (album trailer)" video, depicting the story as a 60s Sword And Sandal film. (It's scenes from the 1961 film The Giant of Metropolis, just with a new voiceover.)
- Retraux: Pepe Deluxe's efforts to emulate the sound of the 1950s to the 1970s are noted on their trope page, and this album is no exception. They were pretty successful, too: when Guitar Cobra uploaded her fan video of "The Storm" (the one PD retroactively made official), she initially thought the song was "probably from [the] 60's or something."
- Rock Opera
- Sampling: This album continues Pepe Deluxé's quest to record music that doesn't use samples, but sounds like it does.
- Setting Introduction Song: "Queenswave", which introduces the time, and "Temple of Unfed Fire" which introduces Atlantis.
- Sinister Minister: Mainin plots the destruction of humanity while serving as the high priest of Atlantis' great temple.
- Sufficiently Advanced Bamboo Technology: Atlantean technology included iron automatons, Anti Matter light, airships, aerial water generators, television, and astral interplanetary travel.
- Villain Song: "A Night and a Day".
- World Tree: The Tree of Knowledge, mentioned in "Contain Thyself".
- Your Cheating Heart: Zailm's great mistake, leading to his ultimate downfall, is his affair with the barbarian princess Lolix, after he had married the princess of Atlantis, Anzimee.