Release date: June 2007
Label: Hype Music
Pleasure Shop is an Ontario band that originally began its musical life playing the blues; front man Chris Chown says when he started singing and writing music he hadn’t even listened to the radio, just his mother’s blues records for inspiration.
Eventually, Pleasure Shop guitarist Adam Thibert took Chown to a rock concert that changed his outlook on music; although he wasn’t initially a big fan of the rock genre, Chown was impressed with the energy of the event and the intensity of the music. Together with Chuck Keeping and Ryan Spong, these two musicians forged ahead with their rock music career and are proud of what they’ve accomplished in Fantastic Life.
Chown’s vocals are very reminiscent of Chris Cornell, particularly on the song ?Fall.? The album contains songs that are quite mellow and alternative as well as songs with harder guitar riffs that show the band’s versatility and diversity in musical inspirations.
While ?Just Another Day? and ?Fall? lend themselves more to the mellow ear, ?Blame? and ?Flawed by Design? incorporate some heavier tones and hard-rock melody into the album, which really helps to lift the whole record up and give it more credibility. While it isn’t difficult to grasp the blues background throughout most of the record, the ability of the musicians to produce songs with more of that classic rock edge is more impressive when coupled with softer tracks.
Although the music isn’t as intense as it might have been, Fantastic Life is nevertheless an enjoyable record filled with contrast and obvious talent on the part of the four musicians. The band members have figured out how to make the initial transition from blues to alternative rock music. However, they may still have some more changes to make to their style of composition. At the moment, Pleasure Shop can be closely compared to bands like Live or Soul Asylum without having the extra bite of other genre bands like Moist or the Smashing Pumpkins.
With a little more attitude and perhaps a bit more familiarity with hard-rock music, Pleasure Shop could fine-tune its sound and musical focus without losing the elements that make it unique; primarily the stunning vocals, the ability to write and execute an excellent guitar riff, and the fundamental tribute to blues and soul.