This time around, the album in question is rather a very precise package of gothic/coldwave and minimal sounds. Surprisingly enough, it’s my new favorite genre which I can’t help squeezing into my playlists all the time now. The album is “Pleasure Symbols EP” by Pleasure Symbols released in 2016. This Australian darkwave duo comprises of Phoebe Paradise and Jasmine Dunn. The EP is merely 16 minutes long but induces a pitch-dark, hallucinating spell with every new listen which hardly subsides. The biggest disappointment for me was to discover their re-recorded version of the album released under the label called “AVANT! Records” which is all over the major streaming sites and make no mistake, the songs on it are like some flimsy and degenerate clones of the originals. On the other hand, the original versions of the songs specifically, “Control” and “Ultra Violence” have a cold-blooded, gloomy atmosphere which swathes in the dense stench of electronica and drone. The concept is basically the big sounds of the 80’s i.e. post-punk, electronic, industrial and synth-wave calibrated in a dramatic way to successfully capture the essence and menacing aura of perhaps, a Dario Argento’s classic horror/thriller dating back to the 80’s. So there’s your justice.
The album kicks off with “Underneath Your Skin” which is somber yet makes you sway with its jittery and down-tempo rhythms. The vocals are perfectly warm and sensual for a cabaret setting. The synths remain a highlight for being audibly diverse. The second track “Above All Else” concurrently runs its playtime before you can notice anything poetic and then comes up “Ultra Violence”. It’s layered with hazy guitars, low-pitched humming and crude electronic percussions. The song reeks of contempt, dissonance and everything bizarre. The grey clouds of melancholy remain persistently hostile throughout the album which is only fair. The last song “Control” is truly mind-blowing and a personal favorite. The hypnotic bassline reverberating with the ghastly, robotic sermons and an unrefined sound of synthesizers makes it raw yet so profound that it’s almost divine.
I still repeat, steer clear of any material from the re-released version because it’s unimpressive and bland beyond belief. Goes on to prove how unnecessary tinkering with even the minuscule of details in music can disrupt its appeal entirely. Still, I’ll definitely look out for their future releases as long as they stick to their explicitly original and perverse sound.