Psychedelic rock is a crowded field these days, and among all the reverb and vintage
keyboards, it can be difficult to find music that extends beyond pastiche. On their new LP, Sugar
Mountain, The Pleasure Routine use the old school tones and equipment to create their own
unique sound. The album’s nine tracks range from languid ballads to energetic rockers, and the
band pulls off both with confidence and originality. At the center of the music is the vocal
interplay of Kevin Sosfrud and Lauren Kopp, whose respective deliveries recall Calvin
Johnson’s drawl and Fiona Apple’s broken soulfulness. The band’s rich guitar and keyboard
textures provide the perfect background for their affecting tales of lost love and inner turmoil.
Not that the album is mournful or mopey. Rather, Sugar Mountain strikes a satisfying balance
between playfulness and sincerity, heartbreak and hope. The production is a bit rough around
the edges, and the vocals sometimes drift towards sloppiness, but as an album, Sugar Mountain
delivers a thoughtful and original take on psychedelic pop.
There will be a record release show at San Francisco’s Bottom of the Hill on July 1st but if you miss out on that, you can purchase cassettes and download the album that day through The Pleasure Routine’s Bandcamp.