Pleasure Leftists: The Woods of Heaven 12"

Deranged Records


Pleasure Leftists formed in 2010 with vocalist Haley Morris, guitarist Kevin Jaworski, drummer Mark TerVeen, and bassist Steve Peffer. With a clear vision in place, the group made its debut with a self-titled EP that recalls everything from Joy Division to Comsat Angels to Chameleons. Unlike many who rip off these influences, Pleasure Leftists take only a few cues from the past, all to better construct its understanding of the present. The Woods of Heaven is the band's first proper LP after a string of EPs and singles through labels such as Katorga Works, Fan Death Records, and its current home, Deranged Records. This album features an aggressive tone with tense yet catchy songs such as "Cannon" and "Heaven's Rocker." Lead single "You You” is a perfect showcase of just how impressive a vocalist Haley Morris is—not only in her range but in her audible confidence, which propels every track like an engine motor. The Woods of Heaven is a jaw-dropping debut full-length. Most artists dream of writing an LP where every song sounds important, urgent, and necessary. Pleasure Leftists have done just that.

Our take: So, in record stores like ours there's this phenomenon of "selling things off the table." Basically, you'll be standing there doing your work or whatever and listening to records (because that's what you do in a record store), and whoever is in the shop will perk up their ears, ask what's playing, and buy it off the turntable. It happens all the time, and it's actually one of the really great things about working in a record store. Anyway, I think the record for all-time sales off the table must go to the Pleasure Leftists' previous 12" EP on Deranged. Jeff, Seth, and I all played that record to death, and whenever people would hear those chiming, melodic, and rhythmic riffs and of course that voice they would be instantly sucked in. For a band that's never played Raleigh and isn't really all that widely known, a staggering amount of people in this city probably own their vinyl. Well, after a couple of EPs they've finally delivered their debut full-length, and I have to say it's the best thing they've done. It's funny, despite the inordinate amount of sales off the table, I don't find Pleasure Leftists to be a particularly immediate band. Their songs have this airtight, almost claustrophobic quality. You can tell by the relative brevity of their output (their first release was in 2011 and they're only just now releasing their debut full-length) that they work on songs for a really long time, and it's almost as if they've sanded away all of the rough edges and left this pristine block of sound. The machine-like quality reminds me of quasi-futuristic bands of the original post-punk era... Magazine (particularly on their second LP, Secondhand Daylight), Joy Division toward the end, Movement-era New Order, and of course Juju-era Siouxsie and the Banshees. While Pleasure Leftists share the cold vibe of all of those bands, it's the Banshees with whom they are the closest sonic cousins, with the big, powerful, low-pitched vocals recalling Siouxsie herself and all of the chiming little arpeggios recalling the brilliant guitar work of John McGeoch. Pleasure Leftists definitely aren't recreationists, though... it's almost as if the post-punkiness of their sound is just a side effect of their wanting to write sophisticated pop songs. I feel like I can write and write and write, but the above anecdote is meant to illustrate that it's actually listening to this band that gets you hooked, so if you don't to blindly buy this use your internet search tools to give this record a listen. My guess is that you'll be pleased.
Tags: 10s female-fronted melodic midwest post-punk recommended