Better than pleasant
Making it in the music world is hard enough without naming your band "Pleasant." It's critical bear-baiting, really: an invitation for weary, jaded and underpaid rock scribes (or unpaid bloggers) to damn you with faint praise, or worse. With near-synonyms like "bland" and "forgettable" so easy to slap on a review, why risk it?
Well, Pleasant is better than pleasant. Thank God, right? The Chapel Hill foursome isn't the best band I've ever heard, maybe not even the best band I've heard this month, but they're really good--confident and likeable without being overconfident or too eager to please. Not abstruse, but not trendy-seeming either. Pleasant's sound has obvious touchstones in 90s indie rock, specifically, Pavement (singer Sean Parker very effectively deploys Malkmus' falsetto shrieks, la-la-las and speak-sing devices). But the band isn't any more derivative than anyone else these days. And their songs--sharp, snappy and straightforward, thanks to a vivacious rhythm section and clear, ringing, melodic lead guitar lines--are memorable. Plus, they're adorable (see above photo). Highly recommended.
Welcome Come In - Pleasant
Where You Are - Pleasant
Horrible - Pleasant
Pleasant's new album is Awkward as a Beehive, which you can order through the band's Web site ($10 including shipping).