If combining more genres than any psychiatrist would recommend may not necessarily equate success, it excludes unoriginality for this Australian band on their sophomore release. Never before was a band daring enough to attempt such a maniacal combining of genres, all somehow rooted in ‘90s pop. But despite making a puzzling first impression, this record actually has a lot of quality.
A completely offbeat record, Land Of Pleasure combines pop with reggae, psych rock, hip-hop and boy-band music. It almost sounds like the recipe to a parody album, but it is all too serious. Going through the album, one hopes to understand what the artists were thinking. But track by track, this becomes only more difficult. The album’s eponymous opener, laid out with a hip-hop beat and background electronics, features a soulful delivery accompanied by reggae strumming.
As the songlist progresses, the scenario keeps repeating itself with surprise elements constantly added. And so listeners will find background harmonies on the guitar serenade “Just For You,” rocksteady basslines on the tracks “Fake A Smile” and “Show No Shade,” electronics and anthemic chants on “Velvet Skies,” and more to scramble musical palates everywhere.
This album is almost impossible to pass a verdict onto. The ‘90s were kind to few musical genres, and today we remember the pop hits of the time with affection and gentle ridicule. But for Sticky Fingers, they are the foundations of their sound.
Despite making for some of the most improbable of music, Land Of Pleasure is not bad; it’s just completely out there, kicking pop standards out of its way at the change of every verse. It is almost unaware of modern pop sensibility, but plunges forward with a unique personality that carves its quality, and reminds that falling predictable pitfalls is a temptation to be resisted even amongst the most alternative of musicians.