It did seem, for a moment there, that Decade might not be back. 2013’s debut album ‘Good Luck’ seems an awful long time ago, and the fans that it won them could be forgiven for growing impatient. Three years of intermittent touring and no new music came to an end in November, when the Bath five-piece announced that they had made the move to Rude Records, and that ‘Pleasantries’ was on its way.
As it transpires, a change of record label was just one element of Decade’s reinvention. Gone are the group’s pop-punk roots that characterised early EPs and ‘Good Luck’; in their place is a startlingly mature, broad sound that nods towards classic Britpop and grunge. A sharp new awareness of rock songcraft is immediately evident, and manifests itself in ‘Human Being’’s thrilling falsetto chorus and ‘Turn Off Your TV’’s driving two-chord riff.
Reference points are wide-ranging and laudable – ‘Daisy May’ owes as much to The Raconteurs’ ‘Steady As She Goes’ as ‘Capsules’ does to ‘In My Life’ by The Beatles. Such esteemed influences may be linked to the album’s recording across several prestigious studios, including Abbey Road. Meanwhile, the overlapping, subtly effect-laden guitars of ‘Brand New Again’ could be the work of a 90s Jonny Greenwood.
Melodies are often simple yet irresistible, as in the case of ‘Can’t Figure You Out’’s understated catchiness. Better still is the breathtakingly gorgeous ‘Sunbeam’ – you can almost see Alex Sears’s face illuminated by iPhone torches on the band’s UK tour next month.
To those that thought Decade were finished, ‘Pleasantries’ will come as even more of a surprise. This isn’t so much a return as a resurrection: a collection of songs as vivid as the album’s artwork, and more than worth the four-year wait. Sophomore slump? Comeback of the year.
‘Pleasantries’ by Decade is released on 24th February on Rude Records.
Words by Peter Stewart (@PeteStew_)