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There comes a time early in a band’s career where they come to a fork in the road; do they continue down the same path, playing things safe and trying to recreate the magic that first put them on the map, or do they take risks, trusting their instincts to create something magical and unique, with the stakes being falling back into obscurity, earning the dreaded ‘flash in the pan’ tag.
While Sydneysiders Endless Heights are by no means a ‘new band’, their sudden ascent into the broader public eye has been relatively fresh, with 2016 singles Drain & Pray I Fade making the jump onto the Triple J airwaves. With their latest offering Come A Little Closer proving to be their most successful and engaging single yet, first impressions would suggest that the greater body of work from which the songs are attached, being the freshly cut Vicious Pleasure LP, is the band’s successful attempt at evolving whilst riding a new-found wave of broader alternative success.
Such an evolution is not without the core heaviness that exists at the root of the band’s melodic sound however. Album opener You Coward hits like a semi-trailer, combining punishing grooves with haunting, floaty vocal hooks.
Vicious Pleasure is a career defining album for Endless Heights, effortlessly combining heaviness with melodic skill, served on a palate of raw honesty and vulnerability.
On one hand the band have never sounded this radio-ready. Goldleaf throws up arguably the band’s catchiest chorus to date, with vocalist Joel Martorana channelling the likes of Paramore and Story Of The Year with his vocal writing, whilst album closer Heart Of Your Lie is a driving pop rock tune doused in shoegaze and grunge, sure to please any fans of DIIV or Basement. These tracks, coupled with the success of the aforementioned singles showcase a band committed to rocking out and collecting APRA royalties—an unfairly stigmatised but by no means unethical goal.
However, what makes Vicious Pleasure such a powerful listen is the darkness that the band have combined with their signature youthful sound. Paralyse is the sound of the band at their most vulnerable, with Martorana gently reflecting on the power of lust, set to the canvass of two guitars, resulting in one of the more moving moments of the LP.
Elsewhere, Run presents itself as the heaviest song the band have committed to record, a tale of miscarriage told through crushing guitars, thunderous drums, screeching leads and screams delivered with heart wrenching conviction. The lyrical themes of Vicious Pleasure are complemented with uncanny accuracy throughout the LP, with a mixture of anxiety, self-loathing and reflective pity erupting from the swirl of distortion and bass fuzz.
Vicious Pleasure is a career defining album for Endless Heights, effortlessly combining heaviness with melodic skill, served on a palate of raw honesty and vulnerability. When hardcore punk makes you sit and really listen, you know you’ve stumbled upon a gem; thankfully there are still bands in this genre making such bodies of work in 2018.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Pray I Fade, Goldleaf, Heart Of Your Lie
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Horror, My Friend, Brand New, Basement