After seeing Pleasure Centre in a support slot at the end of last year I knew I had seen something special. My recollection of that night completely revolves around being exposed to their sound and presence for the first time, something that no other support band has done to me in a long time, so when I realised that their debut EP was to be released today (May 20th) I couldn’t help but be filled with intrigue. Despite what has been probably the most prolific month for new music I have ever seen, with what feels like dozens of brilliant releases being released sometimes on the same day, Pleasure Centre have still manage to cut through the Kendrick Lamars, Porridge Radios and Florence and the Machines of this world to occupy a not so negligible space in my current playlist.
Their EP opens up with the brilliantly atmospheric Intro, the opening note of which took me back to the loading screen of a PlayStation 2 before dreamy synths and far-reaching drums drag you out into the far reaches of our solar system. Though, as the title suggests, this is just an instrumental intro, its feel sets up the rest of the EP perfectly, with its sonic swells and moody dream scapes showing you the world you are about to be plunged into. This is then followed by Blue (Bertha) a track that picks up the bpm and introduces hypnotic Nico-esque vocals whilst still keeping the fuzziness of the opener. The production on the album, for what I can only assume was a shoestring budget, is nothing short of admirable. At times you would be really hard pressed not to say that this wasn’t record by an early 90’s shoegaze band but Pleasure Centre have managed to modernise an otherwise well-trodden path by mixing in everything that is making the post-punk scenes of Brixton and Manchester so enthralling.
This marriage of old and new is apparent on the next track, Opener, a solid-gold mosh-your-Docs-off banger that highlights all the reasons I first fell for the band all those months ago. The way these guys layer instrumentation and utilise effects pedals is something that has been missing from the current post-punk scenes around the country. To be honest, I didn’t even know the scene was missing out until experiencing this, but let me tell you, it has been MISSING OUT. The penultimate track, Talkboy, is the slowest burner of the EP with pounding, incessant drums that explode into the mesh of instrumental noise in the back half of the track. This is the only track that features male lead vocals, a change that I didn’t think was necessary but one that worked non-the-less. The final minute of the song finally burst with a joyous reckless abandon that levels up not only the track itself but the EP as a whole.
Tungsten rounds off the EP, in what feels like the band saving the best till last, or at least, this feels like the most ‘Pleasure Centre’ song on the EP, a true culmination of everything they have showcased up until this point. I have already praised the Nico-esque vocals but let me just say it again, THEY ARE FUCKING BRILLIANT, especially on the final track. Ultimately, this EP has done what all great EPs should do, it has left me wanting more. I don’t know what the future plans of Pleasure Centre are, all I know is I would love it if it included an album (or six). For now though, I am happy to be stuck with The Weight of It All, a joyous achievement in angst and melancholia.