Pleasure and Pain

'Exit Gate'

(Dreamcell 11 Entertainment)

MARK: 77/100


Though I've not grown up with electro music, there're some bands I appreciate, while some others are just in the middle position of those which do their job well yet ain't my cup of tea. Pleasure and Pain seem to belong to the first group, but sometimes I feel them not dark enough and too danceable for my taste.

The opener "Naked Blood", already appeared on the Roman band's second CD, starts disquietingly, and then becomes an electro dark song with a few guitar lines and a guitar solo onto programmed bases.
A typical example of dark-wave with EBM beats and spacial keyboards sounds is "She Walks in Beauty"; hypnotic vocals on the programming, guitar solo and an old-fashioned arranging make this song a classic of Pleasure and Pain for the years to come.
The next track is definitely not for straightedge metal heads; as a matter of fact "Shining Spirits" deals with pop-dark sonorities, very 80's and anchored to sophisticated keyboards layers, made to create atmospheres I haven't been able to live again after the end of the eighties. The bass is strongly present here and contributes to bring us into a magical world. If you like 80's pop bands, you'll go bananas by listening to this easy song.
"Never Come Back" begins with piano lines and soft keyboards effects, then a moment of silence anticipates guitars and a programming with very realistic (read human if you prefer) sounds. An excellent song with good vocals, absolutely rock based, a pulsating bass, and a light riff (shame!). Among Mars Volta, Manic Street Preachers and the gotha of Dark
Strong and danceable power beats, guitar touches of the brush and vocals borrowed from Scream Silence open "Lost"; later Paolo Cataldi's vocals becoming airier and the keys more liquid. Not a rock composition, just a pleasant dance one, growing more lively in the end.
Things change with "Echoes": an apocalyptical piano, noises, an instrumental and disturbing intermezzo with final piano notes letting a sunbeam achieve the bottom of the abyss, as a symbol of reborn hope after a period of darkness and relinquishment.
Fast power beats deign of Junkie XL but with completely different vocals compose "The Light", another dark episode with U2-like guitar riffing; one of the most solid and 'rock' songs of the CD and one of my favourite ones, basically cause it dates back to the best that pop, rock and dance were able to give birth to when first crossbreeds among them started to be realized, and I'm referring to the end of the 80's and especially the start of the 90's. Sometimes the good ol' times do come back!
Massive power beats and a groovy synth take the lion's share in "A Voice"; a sort of slower Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk suitable for "Trainspotting 2" with a clearly EBM closure.
"Tears": a super song unveiling after some drops falling and a spooky environment a là "Psycho"; it becomes a most delicate and relaxing Dark wave track.
Time's almost up and "Exit" is chosen for this task; rather obscure and slow programming, riffs painted patiently and symphonic final keyboards; "Exit" is undoubtely the closest to Depeche Mode in my view.

There're still some improving margins, so P&P can but be described as an electro dark wave outsider so far. More courage to dare unusual and/or gloomier solutions and more focus on their songwriting fluidity would prove helpful to a band playing a saturated style, so as to stand out from the average bands.



-Indelible (Demo-CD - 2001)
-Naked Blood (Demo-CD - 2002)
-Exit Gate (Digipack CD - Dreamcell 11/Aural Music group - 2004)