Jan 25, 2023
By Dom Gourlay
Photography by Debbie Ellis
Liverpool duo Pleasure Island release their first new music of 2023 today in the shape of new single “Shallow Grave”, which singer and guitarist Sean Ekins describes as “a menacing side-swipe at the dead-eyed emptiness of scenesterism.”
A sinister and menacing favourite from their live shows, “Shallow Grave” marks Pleasure Island’s first full post-pandemic release and further refines the duo’s skill for infectious hooks, whip smart rhythms and deadpan wit as evidenced on 2020’s “Help Me NHS” and “Priory” single the following year, both of which were recorded and released in the shadow of lockdown.
The latter, originally titled “IRA” saw Ekins and drummer Sam Pierpoint initially subjected to a ban when their digital distributor refused to share the track in the wake of the death of Prince Phillip, whose uncle had been murdered by the terrorist group in 1979.
Reworded and retitled as the more fitting “Priory” the track was intended to raise awareness of issues surrounding mental ill health, a subject addressed with typical acuity and wit by Ekins, a former miner and member of Australian garage-rockers The Spitfires.
“It was a bit annoying when the track got pulled,” Ekins says. “With hindsight we were a bit naive to think it was going to sail through. Still, it’s better to pay a price and have some things kept off the internet, if it means we never have to hear from Katie Hopkins again.”
Recorded with platinum-selling producer Al Groves (Bring Me The Horizon, The Sherlocks, Paris Youth Foundation) at Liverpool’s historic Motor Museum – the Sefton Park birthplace of touchstone early releases by the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Oasis and The 1975 – “Shallow Grave” judders with psychobilly rhythms and careering riffs – perfect for these anxious, led-by-zombies times.
“It’s a dark sounding track which partly reflects how things are these days, but it’s got tons of energy to give everyone a taste of the live show and incentive for people to come see us on the road,” says Ekins of “Shallow Grave”, the video to which sees acclaimed team Red Visuals leaning into those spooky vibes.
The track crackles with threat, Ekins’ lyrics taking aim at those led by vanity and misplaced pride; the sort of person who thinks they’re better than the next because they’ve read a book or two.
Ekins says: “I think it’s common a scenario that most bands, at some stage when they realise that they’ll never get to be friends with the cool kids, write a song about how little they cared and never wanted to hang out with them in the first place.”
“Shallow Grave” is out now across all major digital formats.
Pleasure Island will play the following shows over the coming months:-
3 The Old Courts, Wigan
17 Chameleon Arts Cafe, Nottingham
1 Jacaranda Basement, Liverpool
2 AATMA, Manchester
18 Chameleon Arts Cafe, Nottingham
1 Outpost, Liverpool