Pillow Talk

What We Should Have Said EP

Written by: TL on 07/03/2015 17:28:22

Abstract qualities that you could call "dreaminess" and "floatiness" have increasingly been finding their way into the American underground rock scene of late, in bands ranging from the noisy Balance And Composure to the more calmly shoegazing Pity Sex. In Memphis' Pillow Talk, we have a new example comparable primarily to the latter and also to the experimentation on the latest Seahaven album. The group's new EP "What We Should Have Said" was released earlier this week and has already been well received enough to earn airplay on BBC1 in England, with a sound that figures to appeal directly to people who liked the direction of the latest Title Fight album for instance.

Arguably, the affected, confessional vocals on the EP would - if framed only slightly differently - sit just as well on one of the more punk or emo records of the underground, but instrumentally we're firmly in shoegazing territory, with chiming guitar notes and booming bass patterns circling around each other and echoing against a heavy curtain of reverb. On a song like the EP closer "Escape Me" for instance, the interplay feels like it can trace a lineage all the way back to The Cure, and to the band's credit there's generally enough life in the guitar melodies to prevent the soundscape from stagnating the way bands with similar sounds often risk. With that said, "Escape Me" is also an example though, of a song where Pillow Talk perhaps meander a bit too far off track, as the track feels lengthy reaching beyond the six-minute mark.

Moving from back to front though, the immediately preceding song "Room" is a promising highlight of the album, with the vocals progressing with bittersweetness towards a poppy sadness in the nonetheless catchy refrain of "There's room for two in my bed, always room for you in my head" and while the naivety is slightly corny, it gets the job done and is instantly noticeable. Of the remaining three tracks, the first on the EP, "Bend", is a mostly ambient atmosphere-setting piece without vocals, simply laying down some echoing feedback before the arrival of "Make You Real" and "Heaven Sent", both of which invoke the previously mentioned reference to Title Fight's "Hyperview" for better and worse. On one hand people who love that record can hear in these tracks that Pillow Talk should be right up their alley, but bar the latter song's "You're still my brother, heaven sent" line, the hooks are not as strong as the one in "Room", and the instrumental arrangements feel a bit complacent here, in contrast to the moody vocals, which actually do rise to an almost punk-like bit of shouting at the end of "Heaven Sent".

Overall, "What We Should Have Said" is a relatively quickly digested listen at less than eighteen minutes of length, which, harsh as it may sound, is likely to be remembered mainly for the refrain of "Room". In that song though, and partially also in "Heaven Sent", there are at least some traces that the new shoegaze trend isn't totally pretentious, and that some catchy songs can come of it that listeners will remember for longer than it takes their local hipster blog to inflate the next hyped name to the point of forgetting about these guys. That being said, the buzz around Pillow Talk is still best taken with a pinch of salt, as "What We Should Have Said" is merely a beginning, albeit with a hint of potential that the band should definitely work to unfold, while making the most of the exposure they're currently getting.

Download: Room, Heaven Sent
For The Fans Of: Title Fight, Pity Sex, Seahaven, Yuck
Listen: facebook.com/pillowtalktn

Release date 03.03.2015

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