On his remarkable 2010 album, LunaTicky, DrewSta ditched his signature irony, break beats and jump cuts to vibe on the smooth singer-songwriter spice of his Venice Beach town. Since then, the album’s stature has only grown – even as DrewSta grown his guitar collection publicly with nothing left tucked away in a closet. He has finally everything back in place for The Pleasure, which features many of the same players and themes as LunaTicky. The result is a set that feels like an instant funk-rock classic.
The paired openers here, “Ain’t No Love For U” and “Treat Me – The Napkin Song,” set the tone. The first is a funk laiden overture, which introduces the LP’s musical themes. The second is a great break up song in the tradition of Lenny Kravitz. Around bright acoustic guitar and chiming percussion, ripples of reverb and synthesizers blur DrewSta’s layered vocals but the funky Access Virus Ti keyboard pushes the bass into a gorgeous watercolor-hangover haze. It echoes a lot of what DrewSta’s been up to lately – becoming an all star IT guru of the multi-media industry.
At its core, The Pleasure is a record about what to do when the world seems like it needs a jolt of funk and fun. Irony doesn’t cut it anymore; truth, beauty and resolve are the best weapons. “No matter what you do, no matter what you say, my light covers your ways,” DrewSta swings with falsetto swoops on “My Light Covers U,” then asks, “What did you put into that love?” He seems to be referring to a crashed relationship, or a trashed ecosystem. On “Mother F-in Mine,” which radiates the cocooned warmth of the Ramones, he belts, “I don’t need your Mother F-in Penitentiary.” Coming in the wake of a boat accident neck injury so severe DrewSta disappeared from the music scene for 6 months, The Pleasure’s struggle toward the light feels as personal as it does universal.
DrewSta remains a master of wacky sounds, and trainspotters can have a field day mapping reference points: “Venice Beach – Breakdown the Broken” lights up the nonsense humor of the number 1 destination of lunatic asylum graduates. “Nothing Will Stop Me” was rumored to be a tribute to Queen’s hymn based writing style, but it’s slim chance you would have any idea that DrewSta was envisioning anything to do with the 1970’s mega group. The funky arpeggiators return with “So Sweet In the Summer”, a lovely piano-and-drone meditation that could almost be a calling to evil.
Mastered by Grammy Award winning mixer Jussi Tegelman.