TimeOut New York - January 1st 2004
Don't Make Things - The Pleased
Billy Joel before them, the Pleased is in a New York state of mind. But
unlike the Piano Man, the San Francisco-based fivesome skips the Sunday
Times and toasted pumpernickel at Ess-a-bagel and heads straight for the
studio instead. The fruits of the band's labors would sound remarkably at
home joining an Interpol , Walkmen, Longwave triple bill, stroking the Velvets
and echoing the Bunnymen with the best of them.
Funny that the quintet comes off so much like Manhattan bands of the '00s
currently copping the ethos of UK outfits of the '70s and '80s, when in
fact expat singer Rich Good is himself BRitish - hailing from the same small
town as the Cure's Robert Smith, no less. Good's assured vocals mirror the
inflections of vintage Bono, his tales of urban ennui floating over Vicodined
guitars and curdled keyboard lines while distortion pedals work overtime.
Don't Make Things is as coal black and coolly elegant as the Pleased's
peers work - in that sense, no significant achievement. But the fact that
the band is able to make something relatively fresh from such a well mined
form is an accomplishment. Lead track "Already Gone", a sort of
Jeasus and the Mary unchained, finds a jangly, kaleidoscopic beauty, the
drastically misnomered "No Style" and "Another Disaster"
follow yuneful suit. The group may be 3000 miles from its spiritual home,
but it's a whole lot closer than it thinks.
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