Distributor cancels mental illness themed track from Liverpool duo Pleasure Island.
Just 24-hours after announcing new single ‘IRA’ Liverpool indie-duo Pleasure Island has been informed that it won’t be distributed to streaming platforms by their digital distributor.
Cancel culture? Censorship? Well not according to the distributor.
“We cannot say with 100% certainty that DSPs would accept the release,” explained the distributor passing the decision (that has not been made) on to providers who have not made it.
“Each digital service has their own policies on content they accept, and are able to reject any content should they deem it potentially offensive, or sensitive to any particular cultural group,” they continued.
While the track’s release was brought forward by the band to coincide with the death of Prince Phillip, a man who thrived on causing offence and was even beloved for it, the song is neither about the Royals, or in fact, terrorism. It has no “foul” language, no mention or reference to violence and nothing of a sexual nature – it is in fact a song about mental health and the stigma associated with it.
The distributor has gone on to state, “We completely understand that your intention here is not to cause offence, and we should stress that our decision to not distribute this release is not in any way an attempt to censor you or the track.”
Censorship or not, the track will not be appearing on streaming services based on an “offence” that might be caused.
To whom and for what is not being made clear.
Pleasure Island has issued an official reply to the distributors and offered to change the title of the track, however the initial decision to not distribute the track remains their position.
Given that a quick search on Spotify will uncover a playlist called ‘IRA Songs’, many songs called ‘Fuck You’ and the catalogues of Charles Manson and Gary Glitter, it becomes difficult to see where a song about mental illness could fall foul of “policies” on offence!
In reality, ‘IRA’ is another acerbic swipe at a deep issue, following singles ‘The Game’ which took aim at toxic masculinity and ‘Help Me NHS’ which again used Regan’s illness to frame the importance of the National Health Service.
Musically, it is a classic blast of indie-rock, another indie-dancefloor filler waiting to happen. Previous singles have gained fans in the shape of former Everton goalkeeper turned Twitter legend Neville Southall plus press nods from Under The Radar and Louder Than War.
2021 is a big year for Pleasure Island, with their big return to the fold being scuppered by a year of pandemic lockdowns. Formed in Australia by a Liverpudlian ex-pat mine worker, Ekins’s journey began as part of a garage rock three-piece called The Spitfires, based in the world’s most remote city: Perth, Western Australia. Their debut record, Songs From The Debt Generation, instantly set down a style marker: politically-minded tales of modern life set to distortion.
This music gained heavy rotation on RTRFM, 4ZZZ and spot play on FBI, RRR and Triple J with the singles also featuring on national television broadcaster ABC, the band left W.A. to relocate to Sydney.
From there they toured Australia and Japan in support of the album Songs From The Debt Generation, but behind the scenes, things were unravelling; founding bass player Paul Bovenkerk left due to mental health issues, while the band cycled through over thirteen drummers, including two which were recruited from the audience during the same show. Something had to give.
After a much-needed hiatus, the band relaunched as Pleasure Island, and played their first show at the Smithdown Road festival with new drummer Sam Pierpoint. ‘Help Me NHS’ was the next step in their rehabilitation. This is where we are now, a rehabilitated and revitalised Pleasure Island – older, wiser and with more to say.
‘IRA’, produced by Bob Cooper at the Chairworks Studio, is another indication of the band’s bigger sound pushing bigger ideas. After all the turmoil, Pleasure Island is ready to claim their crown as the UK’s most thrilling indie guitar bands.
Are you REALLY offended?