Pleasurecraft are a synthpop act from Seattle,
Washington, who sound as if they stepped out a time warp from
1985. Of course, there is a fair amount of that sort of thing
going around these days, what with the burgeoning electroclash
movement and the resurgence of post-punk as an art from. However,
both of those genres have manifested themselves as angry, energetic
music. Pleasurecraft, on the other hand, make happy, bouncy
synthpop that is light without being boring. It's not confrontational,
but you can still tap your feet to it.
I find it to be a really good mix, and have enjoyed this album tremendously on repeated listens. There is a whole lot to enjoy here, with no song being a snoozer.
The album starts with a dash of old school synthpop in Fxation, which
sounds like it could have been a big radio hit (for some people
with really big hair) back in the 80s. The next tune, Simplicity
is a frenetic, electroclash song that is vaguely reminiscent
of The Faint. The drum machine here is a spastic sputtering
of beats and hi-hat hits, while the keyboards soar, the vocalist
almost yells, and the guitar noodles. It's a really good song
that i bet sounds great in concert, or when played loudly by
a DJ at some club.
Just to mix things up, the next tune, Closer, is a light and breezy affair of strummed guitar and subdued vocals. This is followed by Save My Breath, which features that wobbling synth bass sound from the 80s. This song grows wonderfully, and has a really happy beat. All of a Sudden is next, and it starts off okay, with light guitarwork and keyboarding that sounds like Closer part 2. But then, during the bridge, the guitar goes into overdrive, the synths soar to the front, and the beat increases in intensity. Suddenly, Pleasurecraft are channeling New Order, and they really do it well. This song ends wonderfully.
The next tune, Without a Sound is a decent song, but
not very remarkable to my ears. It is followed by two great
songs. I Need You is really damned catchy, with soaring
synths, a silly little melody taken from the early 80s synthpop
pioneers, and a clanking drum machine churning out a proto-rave
beat. Again, i bet this one is great for the clubs or in concert.
Tiger Pearl follows, and is perhaps the most modern sounding
tune on the album in that the beat is computer mangled, making
this song almost more IDM than synthpop. However, this stuttering
beat is combined with some really old sounding synth patches,
that wobbling synth bass sound, and very nice guitarwork, all
of which keep it from becoming too modernized. The song moves
along comfortably, and is infinitely catchy. A really good song.
This is followed by Matters Not Gray, another decent but unremarkable tune. Comfortable is a short instrumental that comes next, and it is really well done. Layers of synths, keyboard, and guitar compete with one another through an overall happy little melody. Lots of fun.
And finally we have To The Shore, which again features
a slightly more modern beat combined with nice guitar chording.
The guitarwork in this song is really nice, and the keyboards
and synths are a perfect accompaniment. It is catchy and pretty
fun. An excellent way to end the album.
One other thing, about the band. Pleasurecraft are a four piece, and a slightly unusual one at that. Two of the members run computers, keys, synths, drum machines, etc. The other two play guitar (often with effects). It is as if they are the unholy union of the standard electronica act (aka, 2 guys with computers) and a standard folk act (aka, 2 guys with guitars). Weird, but it really works for them.
I got this a few months back and i have been listening to it a lot. It's a great album for driving around to, or for listening to at home as you clean up, cook, play with the cats, or do anything requiring movement. It's not really the type of album you just sit and listen to. But then again, sometimes you need music to make you move, and Pleasurecraft do that quite well.