Saturday, October 03, 2020


After a couple of EPs and a slew of singles, much talked about Dublin rock quartet Pillow Queens arrive with a raw and necessary outcry on their debut album ‘In Waiting’.

Instrumentally speaking, the songs don’t deviate much from the established lo-fi guitar sound of the genre, but each track generally brings one distinctive quality to make it stand out. The twangy strings on ‘Child of Prague’ gain more power when the drums come crashing in on the latter half of the track. On the following song, ‘Handsome Wife’, a heavily effected guitar cuts through the track like a siren calling for your attention. The band also knows how to play on the opposite end of the spectrum, ‘Liffey’ lets the haunting layered vocals carry on after the every other sound grows silent.

The vocals are where the strength lies the most, with lead singer Sarah Corcoran’s distinct Irish accent punctuating lyrics of tender love and inward struggles. The struggles, in a sense, are really what the album is about, as the band tackles issues of queer and female identity in society, religious persecution, and bleak adolescence. All such topics are timeless in the sad way that they will seemingly never be widely addressed and interrogated, but ‘In Waiting’ proves there is always space for passionate outbursts of frustration and representation.

There’s also a quiet romanticism to some of the songs, with Corcoran pleading for a lover to stay with her in ‘Donaghmede’. ‘Brothers’, one of the album's singles, deals with stifled male emotions, and is accompanied by a great music video to boot. At its best, ‘In Waiting’ feels like a wave of clarity washing over you after realising some inner truths.

As the runtime pushes on, the tracks can begin to feel like they bleed into each other, struggling to be anchored by any particular sound. This gives the album a drifting pace, losing some distinction it might have gained if the songs were a little tighter. Regardless, the enthusiasm and message Pillow Queens put across is apparent and easy to grasp. Whilst ‘In Waiting’ might lose its effect over time, it serves as a powerful calling card needed for the here and now.

- Huwen Edwards


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