Pleasure of Ruins is a focused indie rock roots collection that melds Americana with alternative rock esthetics. Akin to the post-John Cale Velvet Underground and the crop of popular back-to-basics rockers such as Ryan Adams and Lucinda Williams, this New York City-based quartet employs driving guitar-based rhythms, introspective wordplay, and subtle melodies to create an album good for drowning sorrows or sweeping away life's daily annoyances. "The History of Cleveland," which waxes poetic regarding Hüsker Dü's slim chance of making it to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame among other things, recalls the Byrds in their mid-'60s heyday, when folk-rock was fresh and enthusiasm took precedence over musical expertise. Lyricist/vocalist Matt Gallaway delivers his lines with self-assurance despite his wavering pitch, which serves as the perfect vehicle to render such opening lines as "Entertainment is the future of the world/It's enough to make you wish for something more." Jug band psychedelia emerges in "Mike's Co. #2" with spooky organ textures, looping basslines, and a guitar solo taken from the pages of Jorma Kaukonen's Surrealistic Pillow days. Recorded with clarity by Steve Albini, Pleasure of Ruins' spare arrangements make for accomplished and timeless pop pleasures.
AllMusic Review by Tom Semioli