Pillow Queens – State of the State

The second EP from Dublin four-piece Pillow Queens is packed with pop hooks, catchy riffs and incisive lyrics which supports their self-declared place as ‘your new favourite band’. 

Sarah Lay reviews. 

Label: Specialist Subject
Released: 16 March 2018

With a heady mix of surf rock harmony, pop hooks, and chiming indie guitars State Of The State, the second EP from Pillow Queens, is instantly catchy and a collection which will demand to be kept on repeat. It hears the four-piece Dublin band step-up their arrangements while remaining true to their style; it’s a band starting to really come into their own and confirm all we loved about them on their 2016 debut Calm Girls).

Opener Puppets brims with mournfulness before gathering pace and hitting its stride with the classic indiepop combo of downbeat lyrics set to upbeat tunes. And this one would gather twitching bodies to the dancefloor, heads full of resonance for the ennui of modern life; ‘push me, pull my strings, I’m not a puppet but I can’t feel a thing’ is a hopelessness only saved from despair but whoa-whoa backing vocals and subtle time signature changes.

Lead single Favourite falls somewhere between the confessional indie of Rilo Kiley and any number of britpop bands but its the lyrics which pin this to your heart as something special, as it brings the courage to speak of intimate hopes; ‘I can’t help hoping that you think I’m really nice, want some brief hand holding on the sly on the sly’. It’s a soaring, almost bolshy in parts, track and yet beneath that bold melody are these fragile bones, ready to break with the weight of hope in them.

Cuckoo matches a tripping beat with layered harmonies, and at under three minutes it may be short but it doesn’t feel rushed despite fitting a full story, more of those soaring harmonies, while EP closer Ragin’ gives an indiepop treatment to the sway of drinking songs.

On their Facebook page the band confidently state they are our ‘new favourite band’ but any cockiness this might hold is neutralised by its accuracy. There’s little doubt you could fail to fall for the brilliantly delivered pop punk here. It might be a little EP but it’s got a whole lot of heart.

Sarah Lay is editor of Popoptica. A long-standing music journalist she's also co-founder of independent record label Reckless Yes, an author of novels, and when not messing around with words and music, a digital strategist. Follow her @sarahlay

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