Pillow Queens – ‘In Waiting’

By Tom Walsh

They say good things come to those who wait – a statement that could not be more accurate for Pillow Queens. Since the release of their ‘Calm Girls’ EP in 2016, they’ve been patiently crafting a sound and solid back catalogue that’s had fans eagerly anticipating their debut album.

It seems only apt, then, that their first full-length is titled ‘In Waiting’, as for fans it feels the past few years have been building to this moment. Following 2018’s ‘State of the State’ EP, ‘In Waiting’ is a triumphant culmination of four years’ work and is an effortless blend of grunge and post-punk, with sprinklings of emo and indie pop thrown in for good measure.

Opening with the brooding ‘Holy Show’, it signals a departure from the quartet’s riff-laden work. The production values have been ramped up to create almost anthemic tracks, notably the huge ‘Liffey’, a love-hate ode to their hometown of Dublin. Closing track ‘Donaghmede’ also exudes a stadium rock energy akin to predecessors Glasvegas and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

What has made Pillow Queens so special in recent years, however, is their undeniable charm. Long-time live favourite ‘Gay Girls’ has been fine tuned, but still conveys the same messages of strong community – messages that are best demonstrated in the band’s DIY shows, or lager-soaked evenings at Whelan’s in Dublin’s Portobello district.

There’s the trademark dry wit coursing through ‘HowDoILook’ and ‘A Dog’s Life’, with the latter seeing bassist and vocalist Sarah Corcoran proclaiming “we’re all so fucking gorgeous”, while the heartfelt tracks of ‘Handsome Wife’ and ‘Brothers’ are testaments to loving the people around you.

Ever since Pillow Queens came on to the scene in 2016, fans and critics alike have been waiting for this moment, and listening to ‘In Waiting’ has made every second worthwhile. This is a debut record to be celebrated. Packed with everything from instant pop hits to complex distorted ballads, it’s a stellar graduation for the darlings of Ireland’s DIY scene.

It’s been well worth the wait for ‘In Waiting’.

TOM WALSH

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