American Pleasure Club Credit: Courtesy the Artist

In a Track Record essay published just before American Pleasure Club dropped February’s A Whole Fucking Lifetime of This (Run for Cover), front man Sam Ray wrote about the process of changing the band’s name from Teen Suicide. In the piece he described the group’s effort to retain their fervent cult following while shedding that name, which they’d matured beyond—their decision to flood the Web with new material, a la Lil Wayne during the lead-up to Tha Carter III, was intended to help with the transition. “I figured that at the very least, those who worried about us changing our sound, or, God forbid, ‘selling out’ (I hate this term and concept) would hear and recognize so much of the scuzzy, poppy-rock band they fell in love with in new, free songs and decide to stick around—even with a new name.” The tactic seems to have worked, thanks in part to Ray’s experience and versatility. At age 26, he’s already led more projects in his short time on earth than many of his fans may ever get around to hearing, with his solo experimental electro work under the name Ricky Eat Acid among the most prominent. Though he freely experiments with style, he manages to imprint each project with a distinctive character. Teen Suicide began as a band who sounded like they were falling apart; their brittle, biting tracks threaded nihilistic punk with scarred second-wave emo. Under Ray’s guidance, the group evolved toward something more calm and gentle but also less rule bound. The woozy “Sycamore” is filled with loudly echoing hand percussion and vocal melodies that melt as they crawl through the song. It connects American Pleasure Club to the aching sounds of their past and to a future in which they can yank in jarring, almost alien sounds that would’ve felt out of place before—such as the spiky drum-and-bass percussion loop in “Just a Mistake.” No matter which direction they flow from here, Ray and company will ensure the music keeps making sense.   v