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  Stranger To the Pain
  Father/Daughter Records  
Release Date:
Reviewed by:

A few months back Father/Daughter Records released a split single featuring Sports and Plush. It was a fun little single, but i struggled to find information about either band online. The reason it was hard to find info is that neither band still uses the name that they put on the single. It seems to me that this is poor planning on their part. Changing the name and/or spelling of your band's name makes it hard for people to figure out who you are. There are plenty of bands who achieved success with a name that they think is kind of lame (Midnight Oil claim that they picked that name out of a hat, and that no one in the band ever liked it, despite their international successes), but they just stick with it.

So, for the love of Buddha people, just stick with your band name, okay?

This band added an extra l to make themselves Pllush. I have concluded that this is supposed to be pronounced "puh lush", which is an awkward thing to say, but whatever. But look, just stick with Pllush now, okay?

Anyway, i was really impressed with 50/50 20/20, their side of that split single. It was a nice grinding tune with great guitarwork and rich female voice. The good news here is that adding a superfluous l to the band name has not changed their sound significantly.

Pllush is the work of two female guitarist/vocalists: Karli Helm and Eva Treadway. They add bassist Dylan Lockley and drummer Sinclair Riley to fill out the band.

On their Bandcamp page, they refer to their sound as "SF sob rock", which is a hilarious term, if not very accurate. I picture a SF sob rock band as playing something like the Smiths through a kind of melancholy take on hippy music.

But, instead, what Pllush are offering us here is catchy pop rock. The dueling female vocalists calls to mind Warpaint or Candace, and actually all three bands are kind of sonically similar. There are lots of harmonies, used to great effect. And all three bands also hearken back to a more innocent time in American music, using melodies and harmonic techniques that remind me of the 1950s. I can see these girls in poodle skirts singing this music. Of course, the bands also involve a bit of surf rock twang, but that might just be a West Coast thing...

The record starts off with Helm singing over a piano for Elliot. But then after a minute or so the guitars come in, fuzz pedals maxed out, and the song sounds grungish. Syrup continues the grunge with a stadium rock kind of sound. The guitars here really boom.

On Ortega Treadway takes the vocals, singing over a nice walking rhythm and a grumbling guitar. But on the choruses, Helm joins, harmonizing beautifully. This is a fun tune.

Helm is back for Big Train, the guitars booming like Blur, just a poppy big sound. Her voice sounds a little whiny here, which is a trait that shows up periodically in her singing, but it is most noticeable on this tune. It all works though, especially backed up with that big guitar sound.

Treadway gives us Fallout, where the rhythm section pounds at it, adding a nice steady layer under the melodic guitarwork. Treadway really emotes here, her singing powerful as guitars chime in layers. Another great song.

Helm takes it back for 3 45, which is a standard rocker from her, at least up until the bridge. And then, suddenly, the drums slow to a subtle tapping and the vocalists harmonize wordlessly, the voices entwining. Wow. The end of this song is really beautiful.

Restart starts slow, with a tinkling guitar. Helm and Treadway harmonize nicely, and the song tinkles along slowly, in a way that reminds me of Candace. It fades into Sleeper Cab a short instrumental of piano with some faint oohing in the background.

Stuck to You is another fast, grungy rocker, Treadway belting out over power cords and thudding drums. Then Treadway gives us Okay where she plays acoustic guitar that chimes like Rainbird by Love and Rockets. A lovely little tune.

Treadway keeps thing slow on the ballad Shannon, a tune that meanders nicely and ends with a lovely rolling piano riff as the guitars grind along. Another ballad, Blue Room, brings the record to a slow, melancholy close. On this one, Treadwell and Helm harmonize nicely. A pretty end to the record.

Stranger to the Pain is a nice pop record. Pllush are doing good things. Now, please, just stick to that name from here on out.

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Also on EvilSponge:
   Single: Split with Sports


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