Greg Hughes, the driving force behind London’s Still Corners, is not one to rest on his laurels. Despite the critical plaudits hurled at the band’s 2010 debut Creatures of an Hour (“indulgently seductive” opined NME; “an astounding debut” purred Drowned in Sound), Hughes is blessed with the kind of inexorable ardor for refreshing and sharpening his muse that is common to expert sculptors of elegant pop music. “I’ll never be satisfied with any of it, I need to keep trying new things,” he concedes. “Still Corners is The Enterprise, for me.”
Riding that insatiable kinesis over the last two years has resulted in Hughes, along with singing accomplice Tessa Murray, fashioning Strange Pleasures, a devastating sophomore album which is destined to usher Still Corners to a deserved place at dream-pop’s high table. The album was captured in Hughes’ Greenwich studio, with the protean multi-tasker handling all the instruments and penning most of the lyrics. Where its predecessor soared on sugared layers of shoegazing-infused retro-futurism, Strange Pleasures proffers a leaner, more acute extrapolation of ’80s-suffused song and studio craft, navigating a sinuous trajectory between velveteen Angelo Badalamenti noir-pop torch song sophistication, ethereal Cocteau Twins beauty and the glacial, mellifluous territory mapped by Modern English, The Cure and The Passions.
For Hughes, an Austin native whose plans to move to Brooklyn were sidetracked when he fell in love London’s worldly charms, the new album is more than just a stylistic progression from Creatures of an Hour. “Musically, Creatures… was soft and relaxing but it was a massively cathartic record for me. I was destroyed after being in a relationship; it’s all in there, suicide… all that stuff. I needed to calm my soul and Creatures… did that for me. Strange Pleasures is more of an adventure out toward the open seas. It’s an exploring type of record: strange new lands, strange new love…”
Presaged by the soaring “Fireflies” single (Pitchfork’s Best New Track of 9/28/2012), Strange Pleasures brings the Still Corners story up to date.
The vinyl LP comes with a digital download code of the entire record.