American Pleasure Club

Fucking Bliss

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Fucking Bliss is the second album to be released under the name American Pleasure Club, following 2018's A Whole Fucking Lifetime of This, but it was actually recorded by bandleader Sam Ray in 2015, when his group was still known as Teen Suicide. Ray made the album in nine days following a nearly suicidal mental breakdown -- not the only one he's gone through -- and it's easy to see why he would've been hesitant to release it at the time, particularly coming after Teen Suicide's It's the Big Joyous Celebration, Let's Stir the Honeypot. This is a harsh, unnerving, almost unbearably personal record which accurately captures Ray's despondent, destructive mental state at the time. There's barely any trace of the jangly indie rock chords or wistful emo tendencies of Ray's work under either band name, and while it's a bit closer to his ambient-leaning work as Ricky Eat Acid, it's still quite a different sound for him. The album alternates between fragile, weightless moments and bursts of extreme noise, bringing to mind Prurient or several artists on Danish label Posh Isolation, particularly on the searing centerpiece "Ban This Book." Ray's voice is generally obscured, either cloaked in Auto-Tune or slowed down to a crushed, wraith-like moan, and only a few lyrics are coherent. He ponders unanswerable questions on "What Kind of Love?," and the phrase "melancholy song" appears during "Dragged Around the Lawn" a trap-influenced ballad in remembrance of a ghost. The album concludes with the ethereal, Projekt-like guitar strums of "Faith," which is comparatively peaceful, but still sounds like a period of contemplation after the survival of an attack. The entire album is short, not even reaching the half-hour mark, but it's an undeniably pure act of expression and hits harder than practically anything else Ray has created.

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