Sunday, February 11, 2024

Alt-Rock Quartet Pillow Queens Release Abrasive Rock Monster ‘Gone’

Pillow Queens are a band that have carved out a distinctive space for themselves in guitar-based rock music. They can best be described as a band who dish out swirling, glittering instrumentations (aided in no small way by the consistently magnetic vocal contributions of Sarah Corcoran and Pamela Connolly) just as well as they offer blistering, fuzzed out guitar lines and noteworthy tracks that, placed together, decidedly marks them out as a distinctive and exciting alt-rock band.

Proof of concept only need be found in debut release ‘In Waiting’ and sophomore album ‘Leave The Light On’, altogether convincing and impressive albums that waste no time showcasing the band's penchant for the ethereal and delicate, as well as the loud, overdriven, and jagged.

In the case of their new single, ‘Gone’, it seems to push at the limits of instrumental abrasiveness, equally juxtaposed at the other end with shimmering weaves of guitar melody and vocal harmony. The track wastes no time putting this on display – it suddenly opens with an ear-catching, ridiculously fuzzed-out guitar riff that forms the main instrumental motif for the track. The riff's dissonance balances out with grooving drum patterns, further distorted guitar in the rhythm section, and droning bass guitar. 

The verses pull the track back, allowing the vocal efforts to take centre stage while roughed-out, scuzzy guitar fills out the empty spaces. This duality persists throughout the entire track, only intermittently broken with a cleanly played melancholy guitar line in verse two. It’s the middle eight and closing section of the track that elevates the track into furious and raucous territories. Both guitars, now wall-of-sound distorted, blast the track outwards while Cocoran and Connolly’s vocal harmonies return now, louder, angrier and cracked, until the middle eight crescendos into the tracks final section, the vocals now eclipsing into a soaring screech of harmonised noise. The lead guitar provides further dissonance in the form of a mountainous, beautifully scuzzy lead section, levelled out only slightly with the ethereal, reverb-soaked guitar melody in the top end before the track’s close. 

‘Gone’ stands defiantly as a track evolved out of the efforts found in the band’s previous works. There’s a unique, retextured commitment to that loud-quiet, furious-harmonious dynamic Pillow Queens have curated so effectively in their time. In terms of a track that foreshadows their upcoming album release, it should do no less than have the excitement of ardent fans justified, and newcomers to their unique sound in the view to get further acquainted.

Harry Meenagh

Image: ‘Name Your Sorrow’ Official Album Cover

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