At this point in time, it would be difficult for one to ignore Pure X (formerly Pure Ecstasy) based entirely on the amount of press that has seemed to surround the Austin trio over the last few months. After listening to Pleasure over and over (and over and over) again, you’ll soon realize that the group is no joke, and they’ve crafted the slow-burning record of the year, if not just the straight up record of the year.
The instrumental “Heavy Air” begins the record with sort of the ominous feeling one would associate with bloated oxygen, weighed down in trickling bits of guitar reverb and harrowing sounds that fill every inch of space necessary. It’s the perfect precursor to “Dream Over,” a track that begins with a little bit more light, as “oohs” gently float you through the intro. Once the vocals come in, the echo effect of created by the band refraining from polish stains the track with every inch of passion Pure X possess, especially clear as vocals strain in the background to wrap up the song.
You’re going to be hard pressed to discover such a one-two punch as “Twisted Mirror” and “Easy.” The former slowly builds with discordant guitar sounds carefully cutting through the space, all before we’re presented with even a hint of vocals. Honestly, while the depth of the vocals on this track, and on Pleasure for that matter, elevate each song, the craftsmanship of the sound itself doesn’t even require singing at all. With “Easy,” the appeal for the masses is immediately noticeable as drums mellowly pound the rhythm, vocals uplift you, and squalls of noise filter in and out of the song. If you play it on repeat, you’re bound to get lost in the simple beauty expressed here.
Every song on Pleasure is a listenable gem, each with twists and turns of its own. The seemingly instrumental “Surface” fills out a void in the record, with Pure X providing you a sense to further allow immersion into their dense sound; oddly, it’s not dense at all. The use of sound and structure fills every inch of recording space, creating the juxtaposition of hollow, yet dense; it’s a sensation you must have for yourself. There’s short tracks like “Stuck Livin” that seem like heartfelt laments about life, yet much like San Francisco’s Girls, there’s a bright light glowing beneath the stark reality of our world. Even the single “Dry Ice” is worthy of every inch of praise its received. It’s quiet at times, yet the group’s approach swallows you whole, forcing you into some sort of melodramatic trance from which you never want to escape.
People will always be skeptical of bands with great hype, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any second of this record, though the band would probably disagree. Pleasure is, to me, reminiscent of Spiritualized, utilizing the band’s creativity within the studio to extract every bit of sound possible, yet not filling it with indulgences. Like Jason S., Pure X has crafted a delicate listen, one that whole-heartedly enthralls you track after track. If there’s such a thing as modern classics, this one might well be on its way.
Download: Pure X – Dry Ice [MP3]