Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head

Review: Glistening Pleasure
Rating: 3 Guns

Written By: Hilary Hughes

First of all, Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head: even if you weren’t the biggest fan of the Audrey Hepburn look-alike in “V for Vendetta”, how can you not want to listen to anything coming out of a band with a name like that?! The band hails from the Pacific North West, but there’s nothing in their set-list remotely reminiscent of Seattle’s acoustic, grungier musical preferences. Glistening Pleasure is essentially the soundtrack to a basement dance party in Brooklyn, where the boys wear girl jeans and where drinking PBR is an act of hipster pride of the most deliberate intentions. Though there’s plenty of electronically-geared tracks (think along the lines of early Le Tigre and The Gossip) to force people into that “I’m dancing! I can’t stop dancing! I WON’T stop dancing! Wait, my foot’s broken and I’ve practically twisted off both my legs, I need to pass out momentarily” state, the lyrics are clever (“She’s a bad candy apple and I can’t resist her charm”; “there’s a trail of hearts that are broken; the grapes on her vine are poison”) and the voices of singers Luke Smith and Shaun Libman are endearing and raw.

Still, what forces me to refrain from dubbing Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head a band with a set worthy of four guns is the fact that they’re almost… too saccharine, maybe? I’m a big fan of the more biting songs on the album (Hush Hush and Mouth Full of Bones being two of my favorites) so perhaps I’m biased towards the bitter. However, songs like Bearded Lust and Sophisticated Side Ponytail sound like they were written for the sole purpose of making an appearance in future iPod commercials. They’re great to dance to, don’t get me wrong, but the combination of obscure lyrics (“Look at my facial hair! / Oh man, hot damn, it’s everywhere! / I really wish I could grow a mustache / but frankly I don’t have the cash”… really?) and computer-generated beats are sweeteners so artificial that a dance party hangover is inevitable.

Long story short: Glistening Pleasure makes for a great listen, a party standard, and possibly the stuff of basement bash legend. Though it can be exhausting playing this album on a loop, you can’t deny its ability to get you dancing in each and every circumstance, be it on a commuter train on your way to work or in the privacy of your own room before an epic night out.

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