The Pleasures add their own edge to the Americana template on the debut release.
Release Date: Available now
Format: CD / vinyl / digital
Australian singer-songwriter Catherine Britt and Melbourne’s Lachlan Bryan are The Pleasures. A duo with enough award-winning clout behind them for the general music-listening public to sit up and take notice. Their Americana stylings have taken them from the Grand Ol’ Opry to Golden Guitar acclaim.
Aided by Damian Cafarella (bass) and Brad Bergen (drums), the duo’s debut is built on a sound that is raucous, dirty and blues-inspired, yet occasionally interrupted by delicate moments of sublime country-folk.
A set that’s not for the faint of heart, there ar few punches pulled as the songs plot the course of a tempestuous relationship from the start, through to the finish and the aftermath. But despite the fire, passion and impulsiveness, the songs are decidedly adult (indeed, the pair take their name from a brothel where they found themselves stranded, which sounds like the plot of a Rocky Horror style playscript) – tackling the complexities and messiness of grown-up attraction and separation.
There’s a rootsy rock and roll vibe about the title track that kicks starts the set with an insistent and hypnotic groove that’s continued in a Bluesy vein duet on Every Story Has Two Sides. Music that you might even find gracing a contemporary Dylan record. The adult themes come thick and fast. Homewreckers once again continue the smooth grooves setting up a very cool and snaking Becker/Fagan vibe – you may almost expect to hear them singing about going gunning for the man who stole your water before a twanging guitar part adds to the ambience.
The pair continue to trade lines again on mournful Country ballads (Sad Song – yeah, does what it says on the tin) and strident West Coast Rock as Paranoid offers a retro R’n’B swing as they explore options for “a sick old woman” alongside a quirky guitar break or two. The swing sound gets taken up a notch in the big space provided by Howlin’ For My Darlin’ – listen carefully and you might pick out some familiar tropes in the riffs n the increasingly exciting and electric arrangement. It provides a contrast to the easy but angst-ridden break up song Three Star Hotel with the brilliant “I never understood what I could never understand” line, the pair musing over their own insecurities and faults.
I Fell For It might have some barrelhouse at its roots straight from an Olde English London pub (maybe Mrs Mills at the keys), but the main vibe is rustic singalong with that word – groove- once again raising its head. A brave low-key finish sees Catherine and Lachlan stripped right back to two voices and guitar. When it comes down to judgement day, this is all they’ll have.
The Britt/Bryan synergy is all too evident. “Lachlan and I have always clicked in life and in song,” says Catherine, “and we’ve always had an unspoken understanding and respect for one another. These songs flowed out of us so easily.” The Beginning Of The End delivers a broad and balanced take on the Country theme.