The debut album from Dublin’s Pillow Queens couldn’t be arriving at a better time. With society increasingly fractured – both by the rhetoric of division spread by our political leaders and by our current six-feet-apart reality – the underlying message that courses through ‘In Waiting’ is one of unity, community and inclusivity.
It’s a note that shines with positivity even on the album’s more moving tracks, the band still able to pinpoint hope in the dark. On the atmospheric, emotional indie of ‘Brothers’, the four-piece recall the loss of someone close to them (“There goes the man I want to be”). Despite the obvious sadness of the song, there’s a subtle emphasis on the importance of those left behind sticking together and holding each other up. “I love my brothers and my brothers love me,” they sing in harmony on a gently rousing chorus. “Hold up your hands, shoulder the weak.”
Meanwhile, ‘Child Of Prague’, with its melodic, chiming guitars and softly surging waves of “oohs”, presents a more stubborn approach to being by someone’s side. “Do us all a favour and forget how to speak,” Sarah Corcoran barbs, before vowing: “I’m not going if you’re not with me.”
As well as a beacon of unity, ‘In Waiting’ offers something else that’s important right now – the ability to explore beyond our own place in the world, despite not physically being able to travel far and wide. The album takes us into the heart of modern Ireland, detailing the lives of Pillow Queens in Dublin through songs that traverse everything from religion, the city’s gentrification and the pressures of being expected to live a “typical” life, all set to bright, buzzing indie rock that, at times, sounds like it was built to ring triumphantly around stadiums.
On ‘Gay Girls’, the band explore the intersection of religion and queerness, gently building the song from a lilting verse to an air-punching chorus as they go. “Well, I won’t worry about the gay girls,” sings Pamela Connelly. “I pray for them when I wring my hands/Marie, Marie, Maria/Tell me where to find you when I lose my way.”
‘Handsome Wife’, meanwhile, rejects life’s traditions of sensible jobs and settling down in favour of “sitting sweet in the passenger seat” and the band’s freedom. “I may not be the wife you want/But I’m pregnant with the virgin tongue,” they sing jubilantly. It, like everything else on ‘In Waiting’, holds an important message – one of being comfortable, confident and happy in your own identity and way of being. That’s something we can all get on board with.
Label: Pillow Queens Records
Release date: September 28, 2020