Despite only forming in the summer of 2019, Bristol trio The Pleasure Dome have done nothing but graft over the last four years. Persistent touring, across the United Kingdom and Europe, has solidified them as an electric, unmissable live outfit, their steady flow of releases proving their work ethic off the stage also. Less than a fortnight after a UK/EU tour earlier this year, The Pleasure Dome took a week of hibernation in Carmarthenshire to record their debut album, wrapping the process in literally seven days. Now, their debut studio effort, ‘Equinox’, has arrived.
‘Equinox’ kicks off in classic The Pleasure Dome fashion with ‘Pass The Parcel’: a thudding, driven bass guitar leads a crescendo into a thrashy introduction, the trio boasting their knack for controlled chaos straight off of the bat. ‘At Dawn’ introduces some pop sensibilities, some almost noughties indie influence on their aggressive post-punk sound, and ‘On The Beaches’ is a soft moment for the trio, delicate guitars and gentle percussion pushing the track forward.
Despite The Pleasure Dome being known for their jagged and visceral punk sound, across ‘Equinox’ they prove they are chameleons, able to shapeshift and experiment with any and all ideas. Closer ‘No Guts No Fame’ is a sprawling, ten-minute epic, part acoustic-ballad, part-ground shaking punk explosion. The rawness of vocalist Bobby Spender with just an acoustic guitar is a pause for breath, also serving as one of the more sonically vulnerable moments on ‘Equinox’. The crescendo, however, is cacophonous, The Pleasure Dome leaning into hardcore territory with harsh shrieks and two-stepping breakdowns, the track a frenetic whirlwind, and an apt closer to this record.
The Pleasure Dome are delivering punk in its rawest form on this debut effort. An angular, sparse trio, emitting guttural snarls, whip-smart charisma and lyrical passages, bedded by relentless riffs and instrumentation, concocting explosive, breakneck tracks in the process. ‘Equinox’ is frantic, and an incredibly cohesive record, the thread through the tracks consistent, but also gives The Pleasure Dome to explore new and differing sonic territories, which they execute to an exceptionally high calibre.
Words: James Mellen