Updated: Sep 27
Thank god In Waiting is coming out soon (25th September to be exact) - this album is everything I never knew I needed from music. A bloody sick band lineup of four talented Irish chicks, accent infused vocals, synthetic and echoey guitars and smashing outros; I’m at a loss for words really and you’ll understand why when you hear it.
Perfecting their craft since their formation in 2016, Pillow Queens is composed of Rachel Lyons (drums, vocals), Cathy McGuinness (guitar, vocals), Pamela Connolly (bass, guitar, lead vocals) and Sarah Corcoran (guitar, bass, lead vocals). They gained greatness in the blink of an eye, touring the UK numerous times and supporting acts like American Football and Pussy Riot, and opening for Idles & Future Islands.
In Waiting is the ideal indie rock album - many, many artists are going to be very jealous that it isn't theirs, that they didn't birth the iconic guitar riffs or dream up the intricate and delicate lyrics.
"Waiting. Waiting for futures to be carved out, for missions to be complete, for communities to be solidified, for the security denied to a generation to return. Waiting for the empathic revolution. Waiting for the end of capitalism, and the start of something real and fair. Waiting for spin to die and authenticity to be valued.Waiting for lost loves to return and fumbled relationships to form, for small cracks in families to heal and bigger cracks in inequitable systems to break.You’re in waiting a long time. And then you just have to do it yourself"
‘Holy Show’ is the beautiful entree to the rest of the album. Setting the scene with intricate lyricisms and twists with vocal harmonies taking the centre stage, this song is a big warm hug that is all-encompassing, the kind that lasts for minutes but feels like seconds.
‘Child Of Prague’ follows down the same wholesome as hell route - with easy Sunday morning listening, that is vibrant and fresh with crisp drums and dreamy loops of guitar. Its invigorating like a sip of ice cold water or a lemonade paddle pop from the beachside kiosk. Beautiful tinges of true blue Irish accents add to the thick and dreamy quality of the vocals which are featured throughout the entirety of the album.
The single ‘Handsome Wife’ already garnered mass acclaim since its release earlier this year- and its no wonder, with its whirring guitar, light and airy vocals, the track builds up with layers upon layers - a delicious trifle-like concoction. Clapping, light drum stick taps, more guitar, and the melodious chorus all add to be happy-go-lucky vibe of this tune.
With a PARCELS style title, and a Middle Kids kinda tune, ‘howdoilook’ features warpy guitar and VOCALS on vocals on vocals- kinda like a conversation with a crowd, complete with thought-tugging lyrics that seemingly tackle both narcissism and body positivity- conveying a sweet sense of vulnerability yet strength with ’its hard to right your wrongs / but you wont admit your flaws / and oh god they're beautiful’.
The lyrical quality continues and is a major player in the entirety of the album- like in 'Liffey' and 'A Dogs Life'. 'Liffey' is incredibly special as usually ~good rock songs~ compromise vocal quality for a song that can be belted- this song does not which makes it a bloody standout. A Kings of Leon style strong guitar opening continues through the whole track, and gives you echoes in your bones and shivers up your spine. Accompanied by a newly released music video which compiles fan submitted selfies in a touching graphic animation, the song really puts the 'unity' in comm-unity.
'A Dogs Life' seems to focus on the clever and intoxicatingly scruffy wordplay - both serenaded to and demanded of the audience. The overlapping vocals that seem to trademark the outro for their songs are a massive feature on this one - giving off loads of The 1975 title track feels in the teetering, trailing and teasing fade out.
'Gay Girls' is a retrospective take on lust and religion, with dreamy and spellbinding vocals disrupted by synth packed guitar riffs. Anticipation reaches its peak for the BANG, then slowly brings it back down with an even, metronome like drumbeat. Hypnotic and twisting, it weaves all over the place snake-like, like the heavily accented vocals. Its utter choral brilliance and deserves to be shouted from the rooftops.
'Harvey' is very reminiscent in style to girlinred's iconic anthem 'i wanna be your girlfriend'. This should be blared out of a boombox to win over a past lover, or sung sweetly to them on a Greek island, Mamma Mia style. Ambient and all consuming- its an echoed soundscape - like the concert mode on old mp3 players. You can feel the drumbeats in your heart and the lyrics in the soul; warm like a flickering candle.
Continuing down the clearly carved path of honest and relatable songs, 'Brothers' is a beautiful song about unity and love- ‘i love my brothers/ and my brothers love me’. It's a song even my mum would approve of and probably jam to (and she only really likes Birds of Tokyo...). But when a song delivers wholesome content conveyed in an even more wholesome way, who's not gonna love it?
The album wraps up with a touching tribute/tourism trap in the form of 'Donaghmede' - a beautiful lesson in how to pronounce Irish town names. It reminds me of many a trip to a regional Australian town when I was a kid - camping next to the beach, getting sandy and dirty and grimy in the best way. It's jam-packed with nostalgia- even though most listeners wont have visited Donaghmede, we feel transported there through our own memories which are conjured up through the synth-y soundscape. It's a jumpy song in terms of pace and sound - it shocks you like a surprise visit from an old friend. Honestly, one of the greatest and longest tracks I have heard in a while.
Their music reminds me of so many artists I love - its an amalgamation of The Naked and Famous with their punchy choruses, Middle Kids with their scream worthy lyrics, and Julia Jacklin with stripped back, lowkey and beautiful vocals. Music that can take on so many different snippets of wildly contrasted genres is rarely done well but In Waiting captures the perfect mixture. Loads of indie rock mixed with some alternative electronic hints - its M83 all over minus the French new wave aspect of the genre… yeah. Cinematic and all consuming. Pillow Queens offer anything but a soft cushion.
This album is like the perfect three course meal.
You’ve got your entrees- light and fluffy, and not too filling but enough to get the hunger going and the belly grumbling for more. Then you get served a steaming, piled high main course. Think something heavy, like a juicy steak. Or if meat isn’t up your alley, think a fat, sautéed tofu. These songs fill you up with happiness, love and contentment like a good meal that was made with care. Finally, they top off the album with dessert - this comes in the form of something special. A taste sensation thats nothing like you’ve ever tasted - it is sweet yet sour, light yet rich… think of ice cream and creaming soda mixed together, but more elegant. It is that, whatever that is.
With this 10 song banquet Pillow Queens serve up the best indie-rock I’ve heard in a long time on a golden platter. I cannot wait for seconds that's for sure.