An awful lot has happened in The Republic of Ireland in the last decade or so. The hold of the catholic church has further diminished as same sex marriage has been legalised, alongside abortion and a gay man, Leo Varadkar was voted Taoiseach or the head of government. It perhaps comes as no surprise that the feelings associated with these happenings has produced a band called Pillow Queens, Pamela Connolly (bass, guitar, lead vocals), Sarah Corcoran (guitar, bass, lead vocals), Rachel Lyons (drums, vocals) and Cathy McGuinness (guitar, vocals) and bled into their debut album “In Waiting”. The last year has seen the band become pretty iconic in Ireland’s queer and DIY music scenes. shows with the likes of Pussy Riot and IDLES, being named as Ones To Watch by NME for 2020 and an imminent Guardian profile interview in the pipeline.
The album opens with `Holy Show` a delightfully hypnotic quite reflecting look on a night of possibly embarrassing or inexperienced sexual fumbling and hoping their partner doesn`t make a holy show or shameful spectacle of it. The delicately offered guitar chords and distant drumming allow the vocal harmonies to express a feeling of underlying distress. There`s more dreamy shimmering guitar riffs with `Child Of Prague`, the title, a figure of veneration for around five hundred years has it`s religious references, some excellent harmonies, and an infectious chorus of “Whoo hooh hoos”
`Handsome Wife` is a lot rockier in style, musically quite antagonistic at times, relating a tale of same sex exotism or romance. A reminiscence on many different kinds of affection and intimacy, it is both a longing remembrance of the past and a hopeful vision for the future. A song that seems to convey life anxieties and self-insecurities comes with `HowDolLook` a quite buoyant, vibrant, and more direct melodious composition which ends with a repetition of the line “It took a while.”
`Liffey` opens with an organ whine before a screaming guitar riff and thumping drums overtake it and continue intermittently throughout as vocal harmonies attempt to compete with this compelling cacophony of noise, wonderfully disturbing. The track again ends by reverting back to an organ howl. A more accessible indie offering follows with `A Dogs Life` with a tambourine shaking in the background. There seemed to be some irony with the almost throwaway lyrics.
`Gay Girls` is at times really uplifting, gentle and hypnotic. The track is sung with a Dublin accented twang which I have to say added to the texture of the song, a number relating to religion and sexuality. I felt `Harvey` was a bit of a curve ball, almost a throwback retro type of love song.
`Brothers` is quite a stripped back enthralling track. A tribute penned to the men in their lives, written after a family loss close to the band. The recurring chorus “There goes the man I want to be, I love my brothers and my brothers love me, Hold up your hands, shoulder the week, I love my brothers and my brothers love me” is irresistible. The album closes with a homage of sorts to singer Pamela`s childhood neighbourhood of `Donaghmede`, a residential suburb on the northern side of Dublin. A quite anthemic piece, with an emotionally sentimental vocal delivery I found the song somewhat of a heartening tribute which enjoyed the occasional intermittent buzzing guitar riff.
The group has become a beacon for the LGBTQ community and rightly so but there is a a lot more to this outfit. The band have been described as having a “sonic palette” crossed with “ragged-edged” guitars, combined with “smooth harmonies which is a fair reflection. They write about religion, sexuality and the everyday struggles with life and present this not in a preachy way but through a real powerhouse of post punk mayhem. It`s disappointing that they aren`t lauded in the media in the same manner as their other male contemporaries emerging from the Dublin scene are. But hopefully this album will go some wat to revising that.
Rating 9 /10