Pure X: Pleasure Review
It is always dangerous when you first hear about a band via a killer single that you play on loop, especially when you like the song enough to put it in your year-end top 10 and put the band as a group to watch list. This was the case when I entered into the effect laden, relaxed haze of the debut LP Pleasure from Austin, TX band Pure X (formerly Pure Ecstasy). Luckily the previous songs I had loved were only pieces to the puzzle that is Pleasure, which is ten separate tracks that meld together into one of the most hypnotizing records of the year.
Throughout the album, the instruments seemed to be dragged in through the fog and spend their time fighting through the ether with the reverb drenched vocals. Album opener “Heavy Air,” in addition to having a title that is spot on in describing the song, is a good primer for the record. A good chunk of the nearly four minute track is spent being a warped out instrumental track, with the only vocals being distant ohh’s that serve more as another instrument than distinct singing. When the band does have actual words, the vocals are so shroud in effects that they seem to wash through the speakers, sometimes recognizable and sometimes not. Highlights include the previously mentioned “Easy,” another 2010 song “Voices,” the relaxed haze pop of “Twisted Mirror” and spooky, miasmic track “Surface.”
I have already said I came to Pure X via a scintillating single, but the band prove to be much, much more on Pleasure. The 10 song, 37 minute record is a document in atmospheric pop music, a complete and engrossing collection of songs that, while solid on their own, seem to morph into something bigger in the context of the album. The album is even more striking knowing the band made it with no overdubs, which makes the groups wall of sound even more impressive. The group took their time from first single to debut album, but I can safely say that Pleasure gives me confidence that a band I picked to make waves in 2011 could, and should, live up to that hype.