Pleasure Boy

Release Date
The gist Second album from Hannah Cohen mixes classic songwriting with modern production, and gets things just right The music Pleasure Boy is a lean eight tracks in length, which harks back to the heyday of the LP, when artists weren't slaves to padding out their records to 50, 60, 70 minutes at the behest of the CD. And there's actually quite an old fashioned vibe to this whole record. Not in a sub-Amy Winehouse kind of way, but some of these songs, despite their modern productions sound like woozy Twin Peaks ballads or bond themes from a different timeline. Cohen's vocals have a classic feel and the song structures are often quite grand, albeit with odd/complex arrangements. The results could be put down to a curious collaboration between Cohen and producer Thomas Bartlett (or Doveman, best known for his collaborations with The National, Antony & The Johnsons and The Gloaming). This unusual, but cohesive pairing is the glue that sticks the Pleasure Boy collage together. Cohen's lyrical narratives and experimental sounds are presumably brought down to earth by Bartlett's more traditional piano stylings. Sometimes the results are a bit freaky, none more so than "Queen of Ice" which schizophrenically creeps around a whole host of genres and still manages to come out as a proper tune. Radiohead/PJ Harvey/Postishead would be proud. Essentially, this is a claustrophobic breakup record which uses classic pop hooks to lift itself out of the gloom and into the light. All in the space of a spectacular 35 minutes. Listen to "Lilacs" - Vince Clarke would be proud of this synth led track which manages to be thoroughly theatrical and clinically poppy at the same time. "Baby" - one of those songs which, on paper, is a bit depressing but after a few listens it kind of transcends that and becomes something much more uplifting. The intro is almost drone-like, a monotonous guitar strum and Cohen's airy vocal doing the legwork, just wait for that first snare drum and let it gradually sweep you up in its shimmering glory.

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Hannah Cohen
Bella Union