“I’m sitting on a fortune don’t you know?” This opening line from the twangy, indie slacker rock “Child of Prague” could also be used to describe the talent of Dublin, Ireland’s Pillow Queens. On their debut album, the foursome craft catchy and tumultuous indie rock songs that are at times as densely layered as the meaning in their lyrics.
Take opener “Holy Show”, which steadily builds up its rich guitar harmonics and ethereal vocals into a grandiose closure. Lyrics like “I’ve got your eyes and cheeks in front of me, filling the space between my thighs” carry a load of sexual tension, but later as the front woman sings “If you remember a thing about it, tell me that it’s not bad. Why’d I eve say that”, the tension dissolves and the anxiety and doubt of teenage youth spring forward.
“Handsome Wife”, one of the album’s highlights, counters its driving rock rhythm and elegiac guitar riffs with angelic harmonies. The track packs a musical punch as it folds out a tale of same-sex romance (“Kissed the bride and fought your favors, I may not be the wife you want but I’m pregnant with the virgin tongue”). The album then moves into the bouncy pop-punk confessional “HowDoILook”, which brims with uncertainty (“I’ve stopped my thoughts, it’s the only way to keep sensations from creeping up on me”).
The album’s other stand-out track is “Liffey”. The guitar scorch and rage with emotion, as the vocals take a step back to let the music speak. There’s a fire to the drumming here that brings an extra gravitas to the track. When the multipart hymnal harmonies begin, it’s hard for an impression not to be left.
Not everything here is so serious; “A Dog’s Life” is a sunny slice of indie rock with a dash of sarcastic wit, and the gender-flipping “Brothers” carries a warm-hearted outlook (“There goes the man I want to be, I love my brothers and my brothers love me”) with classic rock vibes.
And In Waiting definitely remains a rock album throughout. If you’re not head banging by the end of “Donaghmede”, there may be something wrong with you. The album throughout utilizes sharp hooks and nuanced counter-melodies to keep the songs spry and interesting, and certifying Pillow Queens as a band to watch.
The full album comes out on September 25th. Listen to a few of the pre-released tracks below: