Pleasant Grove The Art of Leaving

As that fantabulist zeitgeist-grabbing writer Grant Morrison wrote in his swansong The Invisibles, names have power and poor old Tom O’Bedlam was living proof of that. Unfortunately, Pleasant Grove can fall prey to that warning, as the music is indeed pleasant, but in that non-offensive, almost trivial way. There are bright spots to mention, but most songs just seem to waft around with worn-down melodies and ideas. "We Made Our Way” features some fine Beck-esque vocals and a Cowboy Junkies roots-y style, but it goes on too long and deep down sounds like other things that have been done better. The phenomenon also occurs on the vocally-weak "Tug of War (Twenty Arms)” and "The Plaque at 16ft,” which has that sparse Iron & Wine feel, yet again drifts away, not fully grabbing the listener. However, all hope is not lost. "Impossible” proves that inspiration is hidden away, as the quivering, tension-filled guitar line works perfectly against the burbling electronics, giving the whole thing a great Six Parts Seven/Bedhead sheen of craftsmanship. It is here that Pleasant Grove soar past their respective parts and imbue the music with something beyond the mundanely pleasant, where it’s dangerous, alive and thrilling. (Badman)