Shock of Pleasure - It's About Time
Record Label: Executive Music Group
Release Date: September 16, 2008
It's About Time (which, by the way, may have the worst album art I've ever seen) is the debut album from Shock of Pleasure (which, by the way, may be the worst band name I've ever heard), a female-fronted electronic act from Dallas.
How Is It?
Any time you have a trip-hop influenced band, comparisons to Portishead will naturally be made, and while their influence is heard, Shock of Pleasure is much more groove oriented and focused on melody, along the lines of pop-friendlier groups like Sneaker Pimps and Morcheeba, forgoing Portishead's often abstract experimentalism. The music occasionally gets fairly upbeat and dance-friendly, similar to recent upstarts Glycerin, and is likely to be more appealing to fans of pop and dance music than to fans of the classic downtempo flag-bearers. The hooks are immediate enough to draw you in, but in the end, are pretty predictable and forgettable, making It's About Time an album that's enjoyable, but not likely to hold your interest for long.
The band's strongest asset is the vocal prowess of the classically-trained Kelley Christian, whose vocals are reminiscent of Tracey Thorn (Everything but the Girl) and seem to effortlessly emit that haunting vibe that's so effective with this style of music. Unfortunately, the band tend toward formulaic electropop musically, negating Christian's ultimately solid performances. The only real surprise on the record comes with their decision to cover The Carpenters' (!) AM pop hit "Superstar," a brave vocal undertaking, but Christian delivers a rendition that's amazingly true to the original.
It's About Time also contains six remixes, including three of the single "This Is a Test," and their inclusion results in a record that weighs in at nearly eighty minutes, which is simply way too long for it to remain engaging. Skip the remixes and the first ten tracks are probably worth a couple of spins for fans of this style of music. I'd recommend checking out "This Is a Test," and if you dig it, check out the rest of what Shock of Pleasure have to offer, as much of it sounds very similar. Otherwise, just pass.
Totally agree about band name and cover art. Blech. Also, think you are right on about Morcheeba and Beth Orton. The only thing is Central Reservation and Big Calm are terrific albums, and this is far from terrific.