Having survived a tornado which left their van and gear a write-off, it’s perhaps fitting that the second release by Tennessee’s Pillow Talk is a swirling, tempestuous and intense listen.
Reminiscent of the likes of Whirr or Balance and Composure at their quieter moments ‘What We Should Have Said’ is as atmospheric and powerful as you’d expect, with plenty of nods to post-punk, post-rock and grunge to make for an interesting, if not a thrillingly exciting, listen.
Opener ‘Bend’ is a gorgeous instrumental which builds before opening into ‘Make You Real’ and it’s here that the problems start. After building the intensity, ‘Make You Real’ isn’t really punchy enough to follow such a strong opener. It’s not a bad song, it’s just that after such promise it’s a bit of a let-down.
However, the melodious ‘Room’ gets things back on track. The outstanding cut of the five songs on offer, it perhaps lacks the intensity of the other tracks, but compensates perfectly with a strong hook and an easy accessibility not found on the rest of the EP. In fact, it could quite easily sit alongside anything on Balance and Composure’s ‘The Things We Think We’re Missing’ and not sound out of place.
Elsewhere, ‘Escape Me’ sees the group stretch their sound out to a challenging 6 minutes. It’s powerful stuff but also something of a trial, while ‘Heaven Sent’ is considerably more direct, and serves to highlight the potential of Pillow Talk when they throw everything into the mix from the off.
Overall, it means ‘What We Should Have Said’ is something of a mixed bag. There’s certainly a good band in there fighting to get out, but by focusing on the intensity and atmospherics it’s often to the detriment of the songs themselves.
‘What We Should Have Said’ by Pillow Talk is out now on Animal Style Records.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)