Former Plec Picks Pillow Queens have been Dublin’s worst kept secret since their inception in late 2016, and the anticipation for their debut album ‘In Waiting’ has been simmering for almost as long.
With each release, the group has gone from strength to strength. Between the riffs and the reels, they explore identity and regret, queer love and community – both chosen and reluctant.
‘In Waiting’ is a refined record that packs an emotionally hefty punch. Every moment feels earned, with queerness that is not a gimmick but a badge of honour. The release of this record could be a colloquy on queerness and an emotional specificity that is needed in the media.
Across their socials, Pillow Queens wrote an explanation for the album, with the final line describing it succinctly: “…You’re in waiting a long time. And then you just have to do it yourself.”
This DIY attitude is what makes them a vital voice in both the Irish scene and further afield. Pillow Queens sound is distinctly Irish and unpretentious, and ‘In Waiting’ is no different, filled with colloquialisms like “I know I’m a chancer”
A nation that grew up with a Marian grotto for every crossroad, religion still frays the edges of Ireland’s cultural fabric in songs like opener Holy Show (“Just hanging back and holy ghosting”), runner-up Child of Prague, and Gay Girls (“I pray for them when I wring my hands”).
The album’s climax arrives on the back of sublime finisher Donaghmede. Vocally they’re heading for SOAK territory but their feet are firmly on the Northside, a yearning request to “stay for a week in sunny Donaghmede” that builds to propulsive levels as the instruments swell alongside the refrain “I feel so safe in the warm embrace of the northern bay.”
This is a lesson in album cohesion- when in doubt bring it back to Northside pride.