Debuts don’t come more dazzling, fully realized or powerful than EP1, the opening musical statement of singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Sam Lewis, a.k.a. Pleasure Craft. Heads are going to spin.
EP1 is that rarest of releases, one that scans effortlessly as pop, alternative and 80’s throwback yet is beholden to none. Powered equally by vivid lyrics and Lewis’s plaintive delivery, which conjures Nick Cave and David Byrne by way of Ian Curtis, this brilliant sonic taster boldly announces a towering new talent.
Indeed, the Toronto-based Lewis has distilled a lifetime’s worth of experiences —including (but not limited to) guitar by age 10, trumpet by age 11, solo world travel, aeronautics training, gigging with retro-rockers Lovers Touch, and a heap of fly-on-the-wall observing — into five utterly unique songs that seep into the consciousness and stay firmly put.
Written by Lewis between 2016 and 2018, and recorded at home and at Humber Recording Studios with notable assists from multiple guest singers and musicians — many encountered by Lewis while studying jazz trumpet at Toronto’s acclaimed Humber College — EP1 clarifies the prevailing Pleasure Craft ethos: music created by Lewis but buoyed by input from collaborators.
Interestingly, while Lewis admits to loving jazz, continuing to study it via trumpet, nothing on EP1 nods to the genre. In fact, tracks like the creeping “Fine” — co-written, produced, and mixed by Andrew Feels and propelled at the bridge by ascending, harp-like keyboard scales and throughout by cooing “woo-hoo-hoo” vocals — conjures a spooky, almost cinematic feel.
What genre is EP1 filed under? “The question of genre is frustrating,” Lewis allows “to me it’s just pop music, for the playlists and categories it would probably fall in alternative, but it’s a formality. The music speaks for itself.”
“My hope is that some people will listen to this project as a cohesive piece. It’s only an EP but the lyrics and narrative are meaningful and intentional, I hope that gets across to someone at least.”
Experiencing Pleasure Craft’s superb EP1, only a fool would bet against it.
- Kim Hughes
Pleasure Craft’s tracks