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- Posted on Feb 13th 2009 6:30PM by Rob Smy
Pleasure P: 'Boyfriend #2' (single): Whenever someone chooses to rhyme the word "navel" with the word "table," we know we're in trouble. Pleasure P commits that very lyrical misdemeanor in this veritable manifesto o' muck. Mr. P is an alumnus of R&B schmooze-meisters Pretty Ricky, but it seems he had trouble graduating from their velveteen frat house. 'Boyfriend #2' is, in old-fashioned lingo, all about cuckolding -- a chick's husband/boyfriend/life-partner doesn't pay attention to her, emotionally, spiritually or, in the area in which Pleasure P apparently specializes, in the bedroom. So she calls P.
You get the picture -- Pleasure P shows up and does the business. All good, we get it. But here's the funny thing -- and from the theme of this tune, we're guessing Pleasure didn't intend this -- this whole "number 2" business actually has a bit of tragic tinge to it. He sings, "I'm boyfriend number two/Aand second place always got a lot to prove." So on the one hand, Pleasure P is triumphantly going about the business of bedding other people's ladies, yet he is also aware of his second-class status, and that although he might be good in the proverbial sack, he's not really good enough to keep around full time. Which is a bit sad, really, isn't it? Silly chap.
Charm City Devils: 'Let's Rock -N- Roll' (album): This hard-rockin' Baltimore five piece set the agenda from the get-go with the barnstorming title-track opener and don't let up for the 12 beefy cuts that follow it. The 'Devils aren't really out to surprise anybody; they're channeling the usual suspects like Bon Jovi or Mötley Crüe -- but they do a pretty good job of it. Lead vocalist John Allen has a respectable studded leather growl and spandexed yelp on tracks like '10,000 Miles' and 'Burn Baby Burn,' while the rest of the band certainly hold their own and make you want to blow out your hair and shout, shout [at the devil]. Ahem.
A stand-out track is 'Money,' a fat 'n' stomping track nestled in the middle of the album. This tune makes you want to clamber up onstage, rip your shirt off and dive head-first into a seething crowd of longhairs. Well, it had that effect on us. This is good-time, honest, beer-swilling, meat-and-potatoes hard rock 'n' roll, and if that's your bag, then you should definitely check this album out. It won't astonish anybody, and it ain't Radiohead, but it does exactly what it says on the container.
The Airborne Toxic Event: 'Sometime Around Midnight' (single): This artfully monikered crew hail from Los Angeles and convey all the swagger and self-assurance of that city in their sound. The minute we started spinning their disc, the cymbal tap opening and sparse but atmospheric guitar work made us reach for the volume and do the tune some justice. Singer Mikel Jollett sounds rather like the Twilight Sad's James Graham (albeit with a deeper tone), while the band as a whole would please fans of outfits like Arcade Fire and Interpol.
'Sometime Around Midnight' makes for a pleasing sonic experience and nicely expresses its subject matter of carelessly lost love. The second-person narrative functions well in capturing the drunken, late-night regrets of the protagonist as he reels around a bar, trying to reclaim an old lover, while she makes a point of showing him she has moved on. The music builds as the emotions of the antihero swell as he staggers out of the bar to purse the girl and her new love. The outside air hits him, he's alone and the music drops back to the solitary cymbal and guitars, closing the piece nicely. This is well-realized stuff, and we say it's probably worth checking this band out.