Review: Pleasure Curses – Stripes EP

185246137-1A largely consistent blend of shoegaze, synthwave, disco and post-punk features. The first song “Nine Of Knives” really succumbs to the atmosphere of the song itself, making each and every piece of instrumentation to sound ungodly and mystical. A song that could easily place itself on the shelf and be taken off it in times of dire need. At times it feels like I’m being flushed back to the 80′s, just to be witness to The Sound and their fantastic frontman Adrian Borland (R.I.P), being hybridized into something else. Even though these fellows aren’t on that level yet, they seem to grasp some of the concepts of that day and time. There are a lot of things going on at the same time, which means a lot of influences are blending together and creating something you haven’t really heard before besides the influences. Some incredibly smooth disco, post-punk, shoegaze wonder that just seems to escalate in between the different genres all the time. The drum-machine is sounding great too and it brings in a whole other tasteful break from the more organic elements.

When continuing down in the dark alley, it seems like post-punk is the main focus. As heard in the track “Abstract“, the tempo is based around the vague post-punk baseline. A narrow path to take, but also a path that expands the more you listen to the song. There are so many different emotional impulses that go on by when you listen to the different subliminal sounds and the more noticeable (but low-key) vocals. I could imagine myself listening to this while taking a ride on my bike through the city and past the outskirts of it. If traveling made any sense, it would make even more sense with this song. Catching up all the negative emotions and making some of it, even though there’s a depressing touch to it, there seems to be a cleansing effect while listening to it.

All hooked up on this one song, the transgression in between it and the next track “China White” is absolutely wonderful. The suggestive electronic baseline (what a switch!), with lo-fi instrumentation all around it and a vocalist that suggestively whispers in your ear is an epitome of the glory I feel. They seem to have found their niche and they do it right. I have listened to a lot of minimalistic music that doesn’t really take the wonderfully under dimensioned sound into consideration, by adding a slowly progressing but bombastic sound underneath it. I absolutely adore how the different layers intertwine with each other, but stay out of the reach from one another. With that said, the different sounds play a vital part in the creation of this sound-scape and the fascinating experience it delivers. What adds an extra touch is the Chinese-inspired (well, duh) elements of soft synthesizes that rip you through without you even noticing what it was all about, until its too late. Man, I’m completely hooked.

Next track titled “Dwell” really makes up for the loss of post-punk feelings. The first lyrical content in the song really sets the mood of the track as a whole, with the following being uttered: “They come in black and white, they come in black and white“. Just the associations I get with those lines gives me goose-bumps. With the repetitive nature of the lyrical content, it surely brings an unvaried but depressingly tasteful element to the music at hand. As the music progresses, the lyrics stay the same, which I would say is a great strength. I absolutely love the progression it makes, while circulating in between the different synthesized landscapes that it puts its eyes on. This is a song that I would put on after a drunken evening, while walking home all by myself and passing out on a field, as I see all the stars passing by. It feels like its got a little bit of that big city life, which actually takes me into a mood so I can enjoy the song wholly. If I weren’t in this mood, I don’t think I could enjoy it. It’s weird how they can provoke me into entering this mode as long as I listen to the track. This is what I would call a strong but subtle jab on the cheek, if you know what I mean.

Whilst the final track “Vicious” is something entirely different, it fits the premise of the last song. A huge and bombastic track with repetitive notions and emotional swings to the right and the left. This song seems to be a lot about New York, which is the city they’re situated in. If New York was anything like they describe musically and lyrically in this track, I would put myself on a plane ASAP and go there. Unfortunately, I’m out of money to do that, but you get the symbolic nature of my act. The sound-scape is absolutely fantastic, however, the singer could have a little bit more energy and it would absolutely climb into the top as one of the better tracks this year. I think they’ve outdone themselves both musically and lyrically, as they set their foot on my nostalgia nerve. They also took a wild chance by combining some of the weirdest elements and genres together, but I believe that they have succeeded with it. I would say this in the end just so you know where I’m at: “I’m running wild” as a change in lyrics from “We’re running wild“. Because I surely am, so will you be running wild with me? Go over to their bandcamp and buy their EP, NOW!

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