Following a name change and a grip of interest-piquing seven-inches, Pure X (formerly Pure Ecstasy) finally blesses us with their debut full-length, Pleasure. Out on acclaimed tastemaker Patrik North’s boutique label Acéphale, Pleasure finds the Austin three-piece seeking to nourish the parched-twang mood that made their earlier efforts so captivating. North has anticipated the “it” sound before (see: Salem), but can he do it again?
Unsurprisingly, the answer is an emphatic yes. That being said, this release feels independent from any broader discussion of genre or context. Sure you can detect elements of shoegaze, or make comparisons to Kurt Vile and Real Estate. It’s all there, and it’s a conversation you can have if you want, but what makes Pleasure so memorable is that it makes you forget about all that other stuff.
Pure X recorded the album live without any overdubs, which enriches the album with an air of naturalism and fecundity. Pleasure is firmly ensconced in high doses of reverb and feedback; tracks such as “Easy” justify frequently invoked adjectives like “hazy” and “syrupy.” Nate Grace’s vocals sift through swathes of guitar and bass, but no one element dwarfs the other. Pleasure is heartbreak without the break-up, solitude without the loneliness. It’s also one of this summer’s best.