The foursome deliver an honest to goodness guitar album with plenty to say

On their supremely accomplished debut, Irish foursome Pillow Queens wear both their hearts and their influences on their sleeves. Hailing from Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare, Pamela Connolly, Sarah Corcoran, Rachel Lyons, and Cathy McGuinness couch their hopeful confessionals and anthems of acceptance in rushes of MBV-style FX overload (recent single, Liffey rises and falls on tides of tremolo) and Pixies corrosion (Child of Prague). 

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Described in a tongue-in-cheek - but wholly misfiring - headline in one Irish newspaper as "More than just one of Ireland's best lesbian bands", Pillow Queens' LGBTQ credentials precedes them but In Waiting is short on preaching and long on vulnerability and empathy on songs like the defiant HowDoILook, a hook-heavy guitar pop zinger that recalls the angularity of We Cut Corners.

All four sing very well, with echoes of touring buddy and Derry girl Soak and the power and wounded bravado of Dolores O’Riordan among their ranks. In lead guitarist McGuinness they have a spiky player with a real grasp of harmonics, especially on the terrific opening track, Holy Show, a mid-tempo, beautifully constructed rocker about lust, which builds to quite a climax.

No sleep till Donaghmede

The dreamlike Harvey could be about gay rights campaigner Harvey Milk, a giant imaginary rabbit, or PJ Harvey. Either way, it’s another cracker. However, Pillow Queens save their best for last with Donaghmede, a closing track so widescreen and epic that it can barely contain the soaring vocals and guitars that sound like they’re tearing time and space apart.

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Here’s an honest to goodness guitar album that squalls, does shoegaze, and power chords and most of all, never lets up on passion and melody. Worth waiting for.

Alan Corr @CorrAlan2