A racing, urgent exploration of the isolation new mothers often face, Belfast band New Pagans have shared their latest single ‘Yellow Room’. Inspired by the semi-autobiographical short-story The Yellow Wallpaper, written by American feminist author Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the band have penned the track to highlight the need for a specialised parent-and-baby mental health unit in Northern Ireland.
After watching her close friends struggle with post-natal depression, New Pagans’ vocalist Lyndsey McDougall decided to speak out about the silencing of motherhood, especially in music. McDougall saw parallels between the experiences of her friends and the character in Gilmans’ original story, in which the mental health of the female protagonist deteriorates rapidly when she is separated from her normal life, locked in an old nursery room by her physician husband. Through the medium of Gilmans’ text, McDougall channels these feelings of fear and rage in her clear, cathartic vocals, supported by the band’s crashing percussion and charged, powerful riffs.
Being a Mother herself, McDougall is aware of the pressures that come with the role, and whilst she is not solely defined by these responsibilities, she feels they shouldn’t be ignored or played down. By using personal experience and Gilmans’ text as foundations for ‘Yellow Room’, New Pagans are challenging and updating the narrative around women’s mental health, and they’ve crafted a catchy, energetic post-punk tune in the process.