Pillow Queens: Name Your Sorrow – Vigorous riffs, fluid guitar solos, irresistible earworms

This has ‘album of the year’ stamped all over it, with every track packing a punch

Name Your Sorrow
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Artist: Pillow Queens
Genre: Pop/Rock
Label: Royal Mountain

Releasing three albums across the best part of four years could indicate troubling self-indulgence or, towards the other end of the scale, an admirable scratching of creative itches. Rarely does such material shine. Pillow Queens’ third album is an exception, the sound of musicians and songwriters sliding into a zone where things are about to take off.

If we had thought their earlier albums – In Waiting, from 2020, and Leave the Light On, from 2022 – had defined the band in sound and scope to the point where not much needed to be changed, we were wrong. Name Your Sorrow is like the Starship Enterprise heading for warp factor one.

Leave the Light On referenced Bluets, the American writer Maggie Nelson’s book of prose poems, from 2009. Similarly, Name Your Sorrow is partly inspired by Atlantis: A Lost Sonnet, by the late Irish poet Eavan Boland (“the old fable-makers searched hard for a word to convey that what is gone is gone forever and never found it. And so, in the best traditions of where we come from, they gave their sorrow a name and drowned it”).

The album’s dozen songs frame such involvement in heartache and emotional impairment, the search not only to absolve it but also to understand it. So far, so worthy, but the cherry on top is that every track packs a punch.


Highlights? There are too many to name, but Pillow Queens’ linking of Like a Lesson (“I thank my lucky stars you don’t treat me like the rest”) with Notes on Worth (“I don’t want to go home alone this weekend. I think I’m worth the time”) is remarkably intuitive and wise.

Factor in vigorous riffs here, fluid guitar solos there, irresistible earworms everywhere, and the sound of people in tune with life’s turmoil and treasures, and you have an LP with “Album of the year” stamped all over it.

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture