Some bands fumble away for years at the greasy till, slowly building a fanbase before finally releasing something that anyone will bother paying attention to. Not so with Pleasure Beach. Ask anyone at the start of the year what releases they anticipated for 2015, and the Northern Irish quintet wouldn’t have featured. They didn’t even exist.
Formed out of a Belfast café this January, Pleasure Beach have managed to rapidly accrue something of a buzz around themselves, leading up to the release of ‘Dreamer to the Dawn’, their first EP. They played a well-received set at this year’s Hard Working Class Heroes. They’ve a gig supporting the Vaccines this December. They seem liable to drown in a tide of positively-phrased Arcade Fire comparisons. A good thing then, that the EP itself is a minor delight.
Clocking in at a brisk 14 minutes over the course of three songs, ‘Dreamer to the Dawn’ serves as taster of what may be to come. Rousing opener Go revels in the glow of the band’s influences. The vocals are Win Butler-esque in the best sense of the word. Chordal guitar lines carry the melody in the manner of Springsteen at his most anthemic. Lyrical references to things like “From a new silver city to the nuclear plains/ From the corridors of power and whatever remains” invoke a long-standing roarin-towards-the-sunset musical tradition. Given the right circumstances, it could nearly make the band’s name on its own.
The title track and Hayley build on the same set of ideas. Go remains the highlight of the record, but the other two tracks are no filler. Dreamer to the Dawn has one foot planted in Born to Run-style booming intensity, blasted out over an anchor of synths and guitar. It’s loud and it’s bombastically melodic, but Pleasure Beach have enough restraint to never let themselves get carried away.
Hayley closes the offering by shimmering away into the haze, signalling the ending to a debut record as assured as you’re likely to hear this. Apparent influences aside, Pleasure Beach have established themselves as a band with plenty of material to build on, plenty of room to grow.
Keep an eye on them for sure, they’re already going somewhere.