The Pale White have been bubbling under the surface of the mainstream since their debut release 'Second Place' in 2016. With stirring guitars, exceptional vocals and a rhythm section that almost defies the laws of physics, Infinite Pleasure sets this band of North Eastern brothers (see interview below) amongst the great debut releases of the last few decades.
Fan favourite 'Medicine' made the cut for the new record, as well as a nitrous oxide fuelled updated version of 'That Dress'. But don't be fooled into thinking that they've played it safe by sticking to an album full of "anthemic bangers", this album is the antithesis of playing it safe. Infinite Pleasure sees the Geordie trio explore the more delicate elements of song writing, pushing their boundaries and comfort zones way further than before.
Take 'Anechoic Chamber Blues' an ethereal journey charting the breakdown of a relationship. It's a prime example of their conquering of new realms. Musically it's incredibly seductive; lyrically, it made my hairs stand on end! The prose in the verses, simple yet sublime.
'Frank Sinatra' takes the post-Brexit dystopia and the need to escape fighting for the scraps of what's left, yet created something enduringly beautifully. The emotionally charged crescendo of this track, will leave even the most hard nosed of listeners wiping their eyes.
'Infinite Pleasure' isn't just a great song, but its a damn near perfect summary of the album. If you want to listen to an album in 2021 that's the epitome of a great record, then you'd be extremely hard pushed to find, a better example of an album that's been released this year.
The Pale White are brothers Adam (Lead Vocals, Guitar) and Jack Hope (Drums), as well as long time friend Tom Booth (Bass). Tom saw Adam play live, before they played together. "I played in a place called White Rooms in Sunderland and there was no one there apart from a few grannies in the corner who just left when we started playing! Tom was there and I think he came over and saw us playing... I remember I was out and I was 15-16, I was wearing a Queen t-shirt - I got to the top of the stairs where the guy was IDing us, he took one look at me and said don't even bother! Then Tom sneaked me in the side door!" And so their journey began.
Their signature melodic guitar work, thunderous rhythm section and magnetic live shows have seen them grow in reputation both as songwriters and live performers. I first experienced the magic of The Pale White live at The Deaf Institute in early 2019. Adam told me, "Yeah that was the gig that no one kicked off at until the encore. We thought it was going to be the rowdiest gig of the tour. We came back on and the whole place kicked off! We were gutted when we heard it was going to be closed. I'm so glad it was saved."
Later in 2019 they came back to Manchester's Bread Shed for Neighbourhood Festival. The Manchester crowd lapped it up, taking them into their bosom and reacting like they did for that encore in March. They had planned to play Gorilla next time in Manchester, but COVID put pains to that!
Medicine is one of their older singles that has made the cut for their debut album so I asked them what their Medicine is? Jack, "Music is actually the craic!" Adam, "You're so right! For anyone, music holds so many emotions. It's mad how many emotions one track can make you feel." Tom, "I know it sounds cliché playing in a band, but I really miss playing live." Adam, "We were meant to be playing this album tour earlier this year, then we obviously rearranged the European tour for this year but you know by the time it comes around it'll be sound. It's weird the past year because it feels like five years but it also feels like the first lockdown was a few weeks ago - we'll be back playing soon I know."
As a band who've toured Europe, they've definitely experienced the bizarre as Adam's recollection of Amsterdam shows, "The first memory that springs to mind that's funny from touring, we were in a shop in Amsterdam buying some chewing gum and I said to Jack don't pick this ball up. It was one of those ones that squishes when you squeeze it... Anyway, out of nowhere it bursts all over him! He'd just got a brand new jacket as well! He was livid it was all over him!" Jack, "I lost it! I just lobbed it on the floor." Adam, "There was a guy who said he wanted to eat us! We were literally having a conversation, having a few drinks and he walks over licking his lips saying he was going to eat us. He said he wasn't from this world!" Jack, "I think he probably wasn't from this world!"
As with all North Eastern musicians, they have a passion for the live music scene in the North East. For many bands who are looking to play at the bigger venues, The Cluny is a sign of having started to make it. Jack, "I love The Cluny." Adam, "Going back ten years ago The Cluny was where all the cool bands play. We've played two or three times now." Tom, "There was a thing called Evolution Emerging and we headlined it there. We loved it!" Adam, "Until recently, the Newcastle music scene didn't really leave the region." Their dream venue? Jack "I want the arena" Adam, " I would love to play the Arena but to sell out the O2 Academy. When you live in a world where you're not sure what's happening next, to play a venue that size." Jack, "I agree actually." Tom, "We've all been to see so many great bands there."
When it comes to first live experiences theirs are also pretty eclectic. Adam's first gig was Jamiroquai with his mam but his first proper gig was the Macabee's at the O2 Academy. Tom actually saw Northumbrian legends Lindisfarne play the Quayside for the Millennium New Year, but his first proper gig was The Automatic at Newcastle University and in the same week he saw Dirty Pretty Things.
The band have a great foundation musically and lyrically so I was interested to find out who was the first musician was, who made them fall in love with music. Jack, "The Beatles or Dave Grohl" Adam, "Nirvana. My Dad bought me Nevermind when I was 10. We were brought up on Free, Bad Company and AC/DC. One of my earliest memories of school with my iPod, I only had Thin Lizzy's Jailbreak and Judas Priest's Sad Wings of Destiny on it! Nevermind is timeless really. It gets to a point when you listen to an album you can skip a track, but with 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' it still sounds amazing. The whole production is so raw. They sound as they would live on record." Jack, "Kurt Cobain was way ahead of his time." Adam, "I love as well that Pixies are a band that you get or you don't. Kurt said that he always wanted to be in a Pixies tribute band or the Pixies. Some bands it takes 20 to 30 years to get an appreciation for them, but The Pixies you either know or you don't."
Having had Infinite Pleasure a few weeks now, I shared that the stand our tracks for me were Frank Sinatra, Infinite Pleasure and Anechoic Chamber Blues. Adam explained, "They're the three songs we've been saying that we're excited for people's reaction to hear, the most. It's something we're really proud of. We've never had the opportunity to record tracks like that before. You know write a tune you want to, rather than having to write another catchy banger. Obviously when you record an album the opportunities are endless."
They've also had a lot of fun with the video's for the newer tracks. From the reimagined 'That Dress' depicting a ski masked bridal party of robbers to the gunk filled 'Glue', which was a lot of fun to film, but a nightmare to get cleaned up afterwards! "I had stuff on me for about a month," Adam told me, "I had one more shot to do and I was in this gunge tank, topless and they came through and said the showers blocked! I couldn't believe it. I had gunge in my hair, in my beard... You can't really walk down the street like that! It was a really fun day. Before I had a wash I rubbed a finger on my eye and because I had lube on finger, it went right behind my eye!" Tom, "The worst thing was that because I'm quite hairy, it was just pulling my hair out." Jack, " It was freezing. It was one of our favourite days in the band , definitely."
Inevitably the tour set list will be album heavy, but they will still pay homage to some of the tracks that have gotten them to where they find themselves today. Tom, "We were talking about it today. We want to make it exciting. We may run a poll each night asking which old tracks people want to hear."
The album has a track that's almost a striped back acoustic version of 'That Dress' - 'Still No Taste' It's a stunning interlude before the final track 'Frank Sinatra'. I asked the lads what the inspiration for that was, "There's an album by Arcade Fire The Suburbs there's a track that's an interlude and I love that revisit. So that was the thought process especially as that was the first track we recorded with our producer. We did it last minute in one take, it's very raw."
Whether you're watching them on stage or chatting to The Pale White, there's a fire cracking in the air. That sparkle of magic that you get when you get the perfect balance of talent, ambition and comradeship. It's the perfect trifactor for success, summed up perfectly by Adam , "Having the creative outlet we have. Our label, has never forced us to do anything we don't want to do. We're a band of brothers. We've been on this journey from the start and we've put our all into it. We're all on the same wavelength."
You can pre-order/pre-save - Infinite Pleasure via this link
The Pale White - Infinite Pleasure
1: Infinite Pleasure
3: Take Your Time
4: That Dress
5: Nothing Lasts Forever
7: Confession Box
8: Anechoic Chamber Blues
10: ...Still No Taste
11: Frank Sinatra
Summing this album up in one word - quintessential
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