Cleveland post-punk outfit Pleasure Leftists return behind a strong new album. Info
Pleasure Leftists, true to the name, is a band whose sonics balance the sublime with a rigid utilitarianism. The Cleveland quartet's members come from disparate musical backgrounds, ranging from hardcore bands to more experimental projects. Perhaps as a result, Pleasure Leftists works with a slightly different sonic toolkit than that of other post-punk revivalists working today, creating a sound that uses straight-laced riffing to undergird Haley Morris' aching, bellowing vocals. The band has never been shy about its debts to influences (most bands on Factory Records come to mind), but its new album The Gate is the best evidence yet that Pleasure Leftists also have a clear vision of their own.
The band’s winning alchemy comes through most successfully on The Gate’s title track. The itchy, propulsive playing of guitarist Kevin Jaworski, drummer Mark TerVeen, and bassist Steve Peffer provides a running start for Morris to soar into her upper register in an anthemic and moving hook. "Try The Door" and "Dancing In The Dark" also find the band wringing plenty of dynamic tension from its spartan foundations, all while showcasing the range and passion of Morris’ delivery. If you've been following Pleasure Leftists thus far, you more or less know what you're getting, but along with that comes a level of performance that can only be born of raw feeling and sharply honed musicianship. —Maxwell Courtright