Artist: Ready, Steady, Die!
Album: Pleasure Ride
Genre: Electronic/Electronic Rock/Dream Pop
Label: Human Label
We all have our own little pleasure rides. Aren’t we all frequently in search of an ecstasy that will alleviate the inconvenient pains life forces us to endure? More often than not we become addicted to the things that bring us that ecstasy, and i’m not just talking about drugs. Many of us are addicted to sex, caffeine, food, shopping, our phones, social media, pornography, and whatever the Hell else brings us temporary happiness. Now i’m not here to wave my finger, because I too am an ecstasy addict, (not the drug guys, calm down) and the biggest addiction I have is music. God that was corny, but hear me out. Don’t we all like music? I mean, you like music. That’s why you’re reading this right now. Isn’t music the biggest addiction we all have that is completely harmless? Well, unless you listen to your music full-blast through your earbuds. Seriously, take care of your ears guys. When an artist can perfectly hit the nail on the head of the mental and emotional strains we have to deal with on a daily basis, it truly is something special. British-American duo “Ready, Steady, Die!” have crafted an impressive debut album that faces these day-to-day emotions with honest lyrical content and dark but infectious instrumentation. Based between London and New York, the duo consists of members Sam K (composer, vocals) and Morgan Visconti (composer, producer, vocals) who is the son of legendary producer Tony Visconti, and their debut album Pleasure Ride is an immaculately produced album that features shades of the moody grooves of Trip Hop, the walls of distant wailing guitars that inhabit Dream Pop, and the futuristic sounds of Post-Industrial, and I can’t help but picture much of these songs in a David Lynch movie. As familiar as these sounds are, the duo manage to create a style that is very much their own. The instrumentation is otherworldly, but the subject matter is very much of this world. Much of the content deals with self-affliction, self-discovery, and self-acceptance. Ranging from the realization of when someone or something is toxic, and separating yourself is the best remedy, (When Hell Freezes Over) to exposing the hurtful selfishness of others, (Vent) all of these songs are expressed in a hopeful tone that wonderfully contrasts the moody nature of the music, and Sam K’s captivating vocals can range from angelic to sinister, leaving the listener an emotional mess, but a satisfied mess. As inward-looking as much of these songs are, there are standout tracks that look outward such as “The Know,” a song about those who obsessively search for truth. We all know those people, conspiracy theorists, people constantly searching for the truth, truths that are supposedly hidden from us by the government, or maybe and exclusive group of people you know whom you desperately try to discover what they truly think of you, or maybe you’re trying to find the true meaning of life. You can stumble on clues, you can have a peak inside to make sense of all this chaos, but you’ll never be inside the know. “The Know” is as thought-provoking as it is eerie with it’s atmospheric synths, soundscapes, and Hellish guitars, but the song is impressively catchy with it’s groovy bass line and pulsating drum machines topped with Sam K and Morgan Visconti’s perfectly in unison vocals. The title track “Pleasure Ride” is an epic piece that perfectly sums up our addictions to help us forget our mental and emotional strains. “This lack of drive from nine to five is starting to get to me. I take my pill that keeps me ill but makes for a better journey” sings Sam K as she expresses the many things we can all relate to, and that’s that brutal honesty and self-realization in music that much of us need to hear, because much of the music that plagues the airwaves isn’t honest. I mean, I get it, most people use music as a form of escapism, but what good is any form of art if it doesn’t make you think or question yourself or the world? Yes, not all art has to be littered with existentialism and melancholia, but art that features these subjects is usually the most genuine, and “Ready, Steady, Die!” understand that along with the bursts of happiness and optimism we get in life, we have our nightmarish and disturbing moments. There’s no light without the dark, and this band is here to force you to experience that dichotomy. As impressive as this album is, it still feels like a starting-point for the band, which it is, it’s their debut album, but their magnum opus is yet to be achieved, and I have no doubt that they’ll reach that. As ambitious and multi-faceted as this debut is, I feel like they have much more to offer, and given that this is the first of three albums that will be released as a trilogy, the band have room to experiment even further. I’m looking forward to this trilogy.
Written By: Steven Sandoval