Words: James Frostick
Cover art: Haydn Hall and Matthew Deasy
Brisbane’s Pleasure Symbols have returned after a period of evolution with news of a debut full-length record. Lead single ‘Image Reflected’ shows off a polished sound, used perfectly to convey explorations of the self and the power of desire.
When it comes to potent post-punk, Brisbane has been rolling out the hits recently. The latest piece of moody atmospherics from the Sunshine State comes from engaging outfit Pleasure Symbols – a brand new record (and first full-length offering) coming three years after the band’s last piece of recorded output. Closer and Closer Apart is the name of the record, which is slated for release mid-year through esteemed post-punk and dark-wave specialists Avant! Records (Buzz Kull, Death Bells, Nun). The news heralds a new era of sorts, an emergence from a creative chrysalis in which the band underwent an extended metamorphosis. Long-time fans will notice a departure from the robotic, minimalist, synth-driven nature of previous work, instead shifting to a new glistening sound inspired by their 80s post-punk progenitors. Pleasure Symbols sees Jasmine Dunn (Occults, Bloodletter) teaming up with Steven Schnorrer (Barge With An Antenna On It, Rat Revenge) for the band’s current iteration, honing in on a crystalline noir-punk approach that’s more woozy and dreamlike, evidenced by the brilliant new single ‘Image Reflected’.
‘Image Reflected’ shows off the band’s pristine new guitar sound, which is offset by a counterweight of pulsating bass (a signature element of the Pleasure Symbols sound), creating a balanced mixture of highs and lows. Jasmine’s vocals carry a discernible strength – an armoured intensity that shields vulnerability. Indeed, ‘Image Reflected’ is as an imposing listen given the sweeping soundscape, but the forceful current of noise carries with it tender sentiments and musings on desire and what it reveals about the self. What does what we project outward reflect about our selves? The stunning visual accompaniment (directed and edited by Alex Dunlop) is a sensory feast in itself, featuring a stimulating interplay of luminous red and blue over pitch-black darkness.
Closer and Closer Apart will be released in June 2019 through Avant! Records. If you want to get in early, you can pre-order a copy here. For those eager to catch Pleasure Symbols live, you can do so in Melbourne March 22 and 23, where they will be playing a show at Nighthawks with Golden Syrup, Purient and Quell, as well as headlining, Angstrom Fest. The band will then return to Brisbane to perform at The Bearded Lady with Pool Shop, Terra Pines and Local Authority. These will likely be the only opportunities to see Pleasure Symbols before they embark on a European tour mid-year, so don’t sleep.