CMJ New Music Monthly - December 2003
Don't Make Things - The Pleased

After two years of skinny ties and stabbing guitars, it's fair to wonder whether our little "garage" rock renaissance is reaching the end point of diminishing returns. For evidence that the end is nigh, or should be, new album Don't Make Things by The Pleased seems like a good place to look: The San Francisco five-piece bring the usual influences to their work (Velvets, television, the Smiths), and put across that same-old, same-old louche energy available from any number of Strokesalike bands. Frontman Noah Georgeson's vocals alternately recall French Kick Nick Stumpf and the Walkmen's Ham Leithauser, and like the Walkmen, the Pleased lean toward the lush. The basslines recall Interpol. And so on. So it's a happy surprise to find that Don't Make Things makes a good case that there's still some magic to be mined from them thar sounds. Every song is cannily arranged and produced, and over the course of the album the momentum never flags; it's all darkly elegant and more than a little sexy, and you can hear a distinctive, wonderful ambition here and there. Best-case scenario, this is a band poised (like Radiohead, circa Pablo Honey) to outgrow their influences in a big way- and it's a good bet they will, since the Pleased seem to be restless with those influences already. ****

Maya Singer

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