Pillow Queens – In Waiting

Its place as one of this year's defining debuts is the rightful icing on the cake.
Label: Pillow Queens Records
Released: 25th September 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

When a band or a record hit the hardest, you get something truly special. Nipping away at the world around them, there’s always been a hint of that with Pillow Queens – but with ‘In Waiting’, it feels like they’ve been waiting for this moment. Of having a full body of work to play with, of packing that with a potent message of emotional meaning, and leaving it all out there. Across their debut album, they manage to capture all of that and more, creating an album of undeniable defiance and jaw-dropping alt-indie that deserves to sit amongst the best this year has to offer.

Where grunge meets alternative music at its finest. Where swooping melodies meet post-rock blowouts. ‘In Waiting’ sits perfectly within it all, constantly switching up and shifting gears whilst being underpinned by earnest songwriting and a rough around the edges charm. With each release they’ve excelled, but in one place they soar. ‘How Do I Look’ rivets and twists with pop at its core, ‘Liffey’ devastatingly rips and pulls at its surroundings with pained resistance while on tracks like ‘Harvey’, ‘Handsome Wife’ and ‘Brothers’, scraps and alt-leanings effortlessly intertwine. With the ability to stop you square in your tracks (closer ‘Donaghmede’ a particular standout for that), you can’t help but be pulled into their world.

Tackling the sort of topics most would shy away from, ‘In Waiting’ is an album that doesn’t so much come as a result of long studio sessions and visions of where a band goes next. ‘In Waiting’ is an album ripped from the memories and sketchbooks that Pillow Queens have been building up for years. Its place as one of this year’s defining debuts is the rightful icing on the cake.

Jamie Muir

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