Pllush’s debut album snuck up on me a bit, but its greatness is pretty undeniable. The singles we heard from it were all awesome in their own way — “Shannon,” “Ortega,” and especially “Big Train” — and taken as a whole, Stranger To The Pain is a really masterful blend of fuzzy guitars and chaotic song structures that grabs you from the beginning and doesn’t let go.
The band’s two lead vocalists, Karli Helm and Eva Treadway, are both powerhouses in their own way. Their vocals are usually buried in the mix a little bit, like you’re hearing them in a hallway at a crowded party and straining to hear every word. Helm does the heaviest lifting on the album’s biggest hooks, but Treadway’s delivery on songs like “Ortega” and “Fallout” lends a casual coolness to those songs.
The band, which also includes bassist Sinclair Riley and drummer Dylan Lockey, have a knack for swerving into some massive choruses, but they also know how to spread those intense hits out, building into them so that every big moment feels deserved.
I still can’t get over “Big Train,” though, the fourth song on the album that manages to reverberate throughout the whole thing. They must know how momentous that song is, too, because when it comes back as a twinkly piano bit on a later track, “Sleeper Cab,” it’s just as powerful, albeit in a different way. There’s echoes like that across the album, familiar bits that recur and repeat and unravel.
Listen to Stranger To The Pain in full below.
Stranger To The Pain is out now via Father/Daughter Records.