Hiding in Place, the new EP from Philadelphia’s Queen of Jeans, opens with the springy pluck of a single note on electric guitar, like a ping from a satellite waiting for a response in a long, quiet expanse. Then, Miri Devora’s voice atop guitar and drums: “Hiding in place, conjure your face/Don’t wanna lose my mind.”
This is the title track’s invitation to a four-song study of loneliness, alienation, and the unraveling that comes with those states, but it’s also bookended with moments of levity: joy and romance burst through on second track “Why Hide,” a response of sorts to the title track’s cloistered anxiety. Devora wrote the songs at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 when she had just been laid off from her job of almost 10 years. Her partner, guitarist Mattie Glass, worked 11 hour shifts at a grocery store, so Devora was alone in their apartment for months on end. When they were written, these weren’t intended to be pandemic-specific.
“While these aren’t ‘pandemic songs,’ they carry that weight,” says Devora. “There’s that sense of loneliness and even longing that I think for many have gone hand-in-hand with the pandemic. Hiding in Place is like hiding within these walls that we were confined to, but it’s also about hiding within yourself and not being able to necessarily express any kind of fears or desires you have.”
This is part of what makes Hiding in Place such an apt collection for this moment: with this EP, which follows the band’s 2019 LP If you’re not afraid, I’m not afraid, hiding can be a safe release or a painful suppression, depending on the context. That duality—and the complicated nuance of lived experience that it suggests—defines our lives now.