American Pleasure Club (APC), formerly Teen Suicide, is a Baltimore-based indie rock band, though the styles and influences they draw from can make them appear to be hardly one single genre. Having released their first music in 2011 under the Teen Suicide name, they began releasing under their current name in December and released this album, “A Whole F—ing Lifetime of This.” This album chronicles a sense of maturity in the band in terms of sound as they explore many diverse sounds from ambient, to folk, to drum and bass on this accomplished collection of emotional tracks.
The bandleader of APC is Sam Ray, a highly prolific solo artist recording under other names like Ricky Eat Acid. The influence of Ray’s sound on this album is evident, with many ambient and drone influences seen on tracks like “Let’s Move to the Desert” as well as drum and bass elements on tracks like “Just a Mistake.” APC’s development away from an earlier raw punk sound can be seen as a result of Ray’s evolution as an artist himself.
The musical elements of “A Whole F—ing Lifetime of This” have seen a variety of approaches to new sounds. One element that can be seen in the undercurrents of the album is the emo-style vocals and lyrics. Lyrics surrounding themes of sadness, introspective angst, and love can be seen on tracks like “Seemed Like the Whole World Was Lost” in which the first verse is:
“Lately I get to feeling like I’m drowning / and I don’t know what to do / I’m so in love with you but I think I got to give it up”
Similarly, track four, “Sycamore,” touches upon existential themes of loneliness lyrically as well as a pop-inspired hook. The vocal samples are pitched up in a style that is vaguely similar to the vocals on Bon Iver’s latest album “22, A Million.” This track is definitely a highlight for its emotional impact and excellent use of textures and sounds. The production is both lo-fi on vocals and crisp and dreamy on the synths and electronic samples.
Another notable track on this album is track six, “There Was a Time When I Needed It,” which features a pulsing drum beat and a soaring ‘80s-sounding guitar line that gives the track a feeling of personal reflection while on the dance floor. The song gives the feel of a nostalgia or hope that summer won’t end, like in a teenage romance movie.
At this stage in their career, American Pleasure Club doesn’t seem to be perfect but “A Whole F—ing Lifetime of This” represents a significant stage in their development. Their sound has diversified widely thanks to the influence of leader Sam Ray. Lyrically, the themes have developed as well, taking more nuanced approaches to relatable human experiences. Make sure to look forward to an even more exceptional album to come from this group in the future.