Published Jun 06, 2018An extra letter isn't all Bay Area shoegaze rockers Pllush have added on their debut, Stranger to the Pain. The band, formerly known as Plush, have filled out their sound with thrumming guitar melodies to match Karli Helm's hauntingly wistful vocals, resulting in a musical offering of hazy pop harmonies and pensive lyrics that inspire summertime nostalgia of growing up and moving on.
The LP's lead track, "Elliott," invites you into the discomforting soundtrack of a relationship gone wrong. Helm croons with the help of a single guitar: "And in my head I said I only recall you being happy / And in the end I said only a fraction," before Sinclair Riley's bass and Dylan Lockey's drums pick up to create a crashing melody that mimics the dissonance amid a breakup. "Ortega" contrasts upbeat guitar riffs and cymbals with Eva Treadway's all-too-real lyrics about life's growing pains. On standout track "Shannon," Helm's voice is exercised to an otherworldly place while she serenades, "We'll give it a rest while we're still young," referencing a relatable uncertainty of the future.
On Stranger to the Pain, Pllush's melancholic instrumentation and candid verses prove they are, in fact, no strangers to pain at all. And it's that in-your-face irony that holds attention well after the last beat ends. (Father/Daughter)