Decade – ‘Pleasantries’

By Kathryn Black

“You are just a human being,” Decade remind us in the opening track (‘Human Being’) of their new release ‘Pleasantries’. Simple advice it may seem, but a message we need reminding of more often than we might think. The refrain is accompanied by a sunny chorus, not dissimilar from an indie pop band you might have watched on The OC back in the day (a classic TV show, FYI). A rock sound underpins the album, for sure, but it veers towards a far friendlier, understated sound than is typical of the genre.

The alternative elements continue in ‘Daisy May’ but, with stop/start guitars and simple drum beats, the shiny pop aesthetic is far more prominent. ‘Turn Off Your TV’s opening tambourine harks back to Jet’s ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl?’ (another classic) before sliding in to a grungier, laid back rock song. ‘Anaemia’ follows suit, with vocals that sound both gruff and smooth simultaneously. Think your favourite British, early noughties rock band, mixed with squeaky clean, American, pop punk.

‘Brand New Again’ switches between slow, brooding moments and louder, thrashing guitars. The band sound like they know what they’re doing, but the riffs can, at times, get a little repetitive; during ‘Peach Milk’ the confidence sometimes comes across as laziness. Falling slightly short of catchy singalong status, ‘Can’t Figure You Out’ sounds cool, calm and collected overall, but as though the band are holding back too much. One more burst of energy is all it needs – the likes of which was found on 2013’s ‘Good Luck’.

‘Capsules’ is a cutesy, slow number at first, self-reflective and introverted, before bursting into life in its second half. If only the whole of ‘Pleasantries’ was this energetic. With the vocals pushed to their limits, soaring guitars, and the hook, “fucking everything up makes me feel alive,” it’s a personal, exploratory, damn right dreamy ending.

The pop punk attitude of their previous efforts is still lingering here, but the new direction of Decade’s latest album sees them take on a more mature, genre-spanning sound, starting their relationship with new label Rude Records on a positive note – both musically and mentally. At the very least, stick ‘Capsules’ on repeat.


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