An unbinding of needed catharsis
Hailing from Dublin, indie-rock group Pillow Queens released their second album Leave The Light On on April 1, 2022. This album roars with pure purgation, an instant gratification from releasing held back by words and feelings. Leave The Light On brings rumination with various takes. It gives the warm reassurance of always bathing a trail of light in the darkness, and comparisons to the warm glow of streetlights heading down the freeway. This album declaring pledges, promises and long overdue gratification, delivers with fast and forceful earnestness, making this album a blisteringly honest and liberating listen.
Starting with “Be By Your Side,” this song opens with rhythmic drums and sizzling electric guitar riffs. This opener ignites the flame for this album as Pamela Connolly (vocalist, guitarist as well as one of the band’s founding members), takes the listener through every corner, edge and possibility with quiet insight into the workings of daily life. Hiding the most precious thoughts and feelings, this creates an almost out-of-body external revelation when a person allows themselves to step out of self-induced constraints.
“Wedding Band” starts with a strong retrospective sound that immediately begins to give a strong feeling of weightlessness. This searing anthem puts the simple line “I want the world to give up this turn, I wanna serve the sun” as a grab at putting one’s own happiness, hopes, wishes and desires first without the implication of selfishness, wrapping up with the line “Tighter than a wedding band.”
The following song “Hearts & Minds” is a notable track as it focuses on the struggles of being in a certain light or situation in which puppet strings are involved, where there is a noticeable imbalance. A shining moment of this song is the lyric ”You came to worship, but the godless kind, I’m not fixing to move, I’m atrophied.” This track holds to a true indie sound with a ’90s-esque exterior.
“Well Kept Wife” is another track worth pointing out, as this song plays into a picturesque version of idealism. With a certain tenacity towards this image, it delivers into a woman grasping firmly with two hands a version of what is supposed to be a framed image, but instead grapples with a more realistic version. At certain points as the song comes to a close, the lyrics seem to grasp for an affirmation “Tell me the house got dirty, Tell me the warmth escaped, Tell me the dinner’s not ready, I know the bed’s not made” all while being backed by a funky soulful guitar piece showcasing the song’s gravity and meaning.
The ending track “Try Try Try” is majestic in its simplicity. This song does not have, nor does it need, the same buildup as the other tracks. Instead, it is a slow descent, a wrap-up to a climatic and explosive reaction expressed through each track. This song settles on reflection and a firm commitment to the journey of contentment.
Leave The Light On is an album that can best be described as fierce, breakneck and liberating. Pillow Queens manage to give the listener all the euphoric feelings of expressed romanticism; a fist shook at the oppression of femininity, all while expressing caution, tenderness and surrealism. This album makes for an impactful and impressive listen.