Pleasure Venom is the 2018 self-titled release by Austin, TX based “experimental garage punk outfit” Pleasure Venom.
Right off the bat, Pleasure Venom unabashedly provokes an image of the very ‘in’ gothic aesthetics, though doesn’t utilize them in any particularly meaningful way. From the Birthday Party-esque guitar cacophony on Gunt to a general rundown of Robert Smith’s pedalboard effects (tremolo, flange, reverb, you can guess the rest) across the entire album, none of these aesthetics serve the particular songs all that well.
The 6 track album is a mixture of stomp and romp punk pub rock and goth dance rhythms. Everyone is on beat for the most part, and front person Audrey Campbell’s vocal delivery can be quite thrilling (especially on tracks Deth and Untitled). But if you feel underwhelmed while reading this, well, that’s how I felt listening to it.
Closing track Eddy is capped off with a great orchestrated outro, a much needed splash of rich color and depth delivered as a final gesticulation of the death rock aesthetics purported to define the album. I would have loved to see more of this throughout the album, letting the interludes and outros work the album’s aesthetic angle while pushing the songs the band had written a little harder, with less distractions.
Pleasure Venom is a punk record through and through. Perhaps there is a harder Grunge rock sound underlying it all, but experimental and No Wave (as one Bandcamp user called it) it is not.
What can I say? The record is fun, loud, and fast in all the normal places. There isn’t much to take in. Maybe that’s what their audience wants.
For fans of: Secret Shame, Amyl and The Sniffers, Mudhoney
Like Pleasure Venom? Give these a listen: Dame, Scratch Acid, Circus Lupus