Review: Pillow Queens – In Waiting

It’s a real surprise that after the release of two impressive EPs and supporting several big-name bands from IDLES to Future Islands that Dublin based Pillow Queens haven’t had people shouting about them left, right and centre. Nevertheless, their experience with fellow artists fronting the current rock movement and a knack for turning out sonically rich songs in their own right has proven that they’re an indie force to be reckoned with. All things combined they’ve just delivered a record you didn’t realise you’d been ‘In waiting’ for but after a listen won’t be the same without.

The album encapsulates a hazy sense of hope and instantly has you hooked on all manner of components from sweeping melodies, flourishing tones and lo-fi layering. Together, the result is ten all-star tunes from the female foursome that met on a basketball court in their hometown (a fact that I had to drop to further emphasise that they’ve been cool since the get-go). There’s an almost magnetic draw in the first few twinkles of the haunting ‘Holy Show’ and you’re instantly connected as soon as Sarah Corcoran’s crooning voice pierces through. From that moment up until the last echoes of closing track ‘Donaghmede’, the band take you on a journey where you can’t help but feel all of the emotion that their songs are created and delivered with. Each track seamlessly melts into the next; ushering you into a new stream of thought before you even have the chance to realise, leaving you in a dreamlike trance-ready to become the monarch of your own pillow. 

The journey doesn’t just happen as one tune flows into the next though; you’re taken on a voyage with each individual song. Not only are they gentle and melodic but also fierce and rocking, transitioning as effortlessly as one of this era’s most iconic alt bands Wolf Alice. ‘Handsome Wife’ is a great display of how they start gracefully, then seamlessly build to raspy exclamations and when ‘A Dog’s Life’ gets going it delves into even edgier territory with grungy guitars and more punk-like chants in a prominent Irish twang. Overall, I’d compare the Queens’ arrangements to a crisp winter morning, sun piercing through the clouds and glistening on snow; bright and refreshing but not without a hint of gloom and bite.

There’s an abundance of stand-out elements besides their progression too, like the poignant folk cries repeated at the end of the self-love reminder ‘HowDoILook’ that help to provide a shining example of their flawless transitions into the emotive melody that is ‘Liffey’. Further messages of positivity can also be heard in fan favourite ‘Gay Girls’; a wake-up call to people of strict religion and those alike that there’s no need to worry when it comes to different sexualities, featuring a catchy hook and accompanied by a cracking music video. It’s exciting to hear more top tunes from such empowering female representation in the rock industry, using their talent to draw attention to causes that many listeners will care about just as much as they clearly do. I also love that they have a rock ‘n’ roll attitude with regards to their opinions and approaches, saying “feck em” to any critics of Corcoran and accompanying vocalist Pamela Connolly’s accents for example and instead embracing their roots; using them to their advantage in adding to the raw emotion to their sound.

I believe the ride that is listening to ‘In Waiting’ can best be described in the final words of ‘Harvey’ as the expansive sound truly leaves you feeling as if you’re ‘floating ten feet off the floor’. Earnest and atmospheric, claims of coming up short in the heartfelt ‘Brothers’ evidently aren’t in reference to their album as it’s an absolute beauty and I can’t wait to watch Pillow Queens flourish like their songs and take everyone by storm.

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