by Emma Shepard (@hugejourneyfan)
On Pleasure Suck, Philadelphia five-piece Spirit of The Beehive create a noisy landscape that shape shifts at every turn. Sometimes hollow and sweet, sometimes brash and arresting- Pleasure Suck offers notes of the band's trademark sounds while welcoming something completely new. The result is, perhaps, their most sophisticated and beautiful body of work.
On the opening track, a noisy violin intro is abruptly cornered by fuzzy guitar and bass drums that continue to hover above the track alongside a commanding vocal melody. Around the 2:30 mark, the chaos melts into a quiet chorus of suspended notes. The lyrics shed light on the meaning behind this title track while dual vocals sing: "pleasure sucks the life out of everyone."
The follow-up song, "Ricky (Cuaght Me Tryin')," is a flawless pop moment. Drums remain at the front, driving the song. The layered, dreamy vocals intermingle with a youthful Casi-tone synth melody that contributes to an overall light-heartedness. Spirit of the Beehive show brilliance in the way they experiment with music -- going off the deep-end while making their sound approachable and unintimidating. Noisy crescendos and squeals always feel purposeful; they masterfully destroy the place but also clean it back up.
"Snow On the Moon," which falls around the middle of the album, captures a hazy sort of beauty in the tradition of their previous full-length release, reminding me why I fell in love with this band. Hushed vocals swirl with distorted, shining instrumentation. This track creates mystery with spoken-word vocals humming behind "oohs" and "ahs." They are able to completely change the course of the song in a way that sneaks up on you, without ever interrupting the natural flow.
"Twenty First Road Trip" creates an edge-of-your-seat sort of disorder. It briefly offers a glimpse of something softer and forgiving, then bounces back to structured disarray. This track is a bittersweet sort of melancholy- lyrically capturing feelings of insecurity while melodically dressed in anger, tenderness, and dread.
Spirit of The Beehive show artistic brilliance with Pleasure Suck, creating something bright, mysterious, and wholly captivating. It is hard to compare them to anyone else, as they have created a trademark sound that they honor but do not confine themselves to. Personally, this was one of my most highly anticipated albums of 2017. After their self-titled release in 2014 and their 2015 EP, You Are Arrived (But You've Been Cheated), they have created an intimidating discography to live up to both in vision and execution. Pleasure Suck measures up to, if not outdoes, everything they have created before.