From Iceland — Track By Track: ‘What Love Is’ By Rex Pistols

Track By Track: ‘What Love Is’ By Rex Pistols

Published December 21, 2020

Track By Track: ‘What Love Is’ By Rex Pistols
Hannah Jane Cohen
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Goth isn’t dead, people. It’s alive and thriving in downtown Reykjavík in the form of Rex Pistols, who recently dropped ‘What Love Is,’ a soundtrack for the lace-gown-wearing introspective romantic heroines of the world. To satiate our synthcore goth needs, we sat down with Rex herself to go through the album track by track.

‘What Love Is’ is an exploration of love in all its forms and how it has shaped my inner emotional world, my psyche and how I navigate life. Ultimately, it’s an album of love songs, but mostly not centred around romance. The album was conceptualised, written and recorded over the course of months—partly before lockdown, partly during—where love was all I could think of. I found it and I lost it over and over, while my deepest friendships prevailed as the most important love relationships I have.

Don’t Be Afraid of my Heart

A call to my friend and lover who could not let themselves catch up to my love in time. It was a relationship where there was love, but just different kinds. Not unrequited, just out of sync.

Water Dance

Abandoning myself to my deepest fears and desires in a dark, cavernous watery canyon. I wrote this song in my head, humming to myself while floating alone in the hot tub at my old gym, which was in a super dark grey room.

Pray For Love

My complete frustration of repeated unrequited romance, deceit and disappointment. I have had only a small handful of romantic relationships, but mostly a series of doomed love affairs, and this was me being fed up with it.

Rex Pistols

Rex Pistols. Photo by Art Bicnick


The loves I meet in my most realistic dreams that disappear the moment I wake. I’m a very active dreamer. I meet everyone I know in my dreams and they feel so real. It can make waking life very confusing, especially when it comes to the way I feel about people.

Lunar Palace

An orbiting fantasy world for one who does not believe in the afterlife. I imagined this place in my dreams as well, and it looked like a cross between the ivory tower in The NeverEnding Story and the moon kingdom of Sailor Moon.

Laws of Passion

My unbridled urgent desire to devour another body, my ravenous sexual hunger that requires immediate release. We were two months into lockdown and I was horny as fuck.

Rex Pistols

Rex Pistols. Photo by Art Bicnick

Cosmic Intimacy

The purity of my connections with my friends that no time or space can come between us, where we converge mentally in perfect sync, where we meet each other with no judgement, just unconditional love and acceptance.

Glittering Moon

An ode to the truest love in my life, my best friend in the universe, who is always with me no matter where we are. The title of the album also is derived from the name of a video art piece we made together based on one of the funniest moments we’ve ever had together.

White Gold

A farewell to someone beloved, in the moment when they began to leave their body. The entire album started from this song, which came to me the night I learned that my grandmother was dying. If the album is a package, this is the ribbon around it.

Don’t Be Afraid… Reprise:

Just a reminder: believe that our love won’t tear us apart.

Stream ‘What Love Is’ by Rex Pistols on all platforms. Pick up a cassette version here.

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