Memphis Industries, 2018

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


The Canadian born artist, who has gone by Haley Bonar for the last decade and a half, has some changes for us beyond just the shortened version of her artist name. Though she's no stranger to strong instrumentation across her very well received career, this time around Haley is entirely instrumental without any vocals to be found.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Perhaps an abrupt introduction to this new direction, Pleasureland starts out with odd synth pattern of “Credit Forever Part 1” that moves quickly into the dark piano melodies of “Give Yourself Away,” which tips its hat to French Romanticism. The surprises don't end here, though. “Syrup” brings us deep into stoner metal with thick atmospheres where rumbling bass and high levels of distortion make this a grand departure from the rest of the album.

“Credit Forever Part 2” is the piano counterpart to first track on the album and moves with skittering and playful keys, while “Pig Latin” brings the mood down to a somber note with soft saxophones that complement this very emotive highlight of the album.

The second half of the album is just as creative and unexpected. “Double Dutchess” brings us more piano work, while “Next Time (For C)” has a classical feel with some aching strings and distant voices for effect. Things then turn dramatic and darker with “Infinite Pleasure Part 1” and “Infinite Pleasure Part 2,” the latter being a fuller and busier display of finely tuned musicianship.

The album concludes on the soft and agile “Lonely As A Mother,” which carries a cinematic quality. The stark and minimal “Snake Moon” finishes out the listen and further punctuates the vast difference between this and Haley's most recent work.

I have to admit, I do miss the brilliant alt-country and fuzzed out '90s alt-rock of Haley’s last album, Impossible Dream. However, it's difficult to fault an artist for exploring new avenues of their talents, especially when it's done as well as this.

Rating: B

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