Pittsburgh's Pleasure Technicians make music that walks a fine line: perhaps too machine-oriented for the rock folks, too guitar-heavy for the electronica obsessive. But that in-between is fertile ground -- the rock-influenced '90s big beat of the Chemical Brothers and various Skint Records outfits, and the post-show clubs where U2 and Paul Oakenfold first met. On Euthanasia Daydream's four songs, PT's have progressed beyond that self-congratulatory admiration of man and machine alike that so many crossover groups become mired in, and are comfortably using their instruments rather than being used by them.
The songs that result from that comfort are somewhat of a mixed bag: The opening "Sly Move" is a catchy floor-pounding anthem, and "Everything Breaks" shows the atmospheric vocal possibilities learned from PT's heroes U2. "Everything Breaks" also showcases the finest in Pleasure Technicians' instrumental arsenal -- those ethereal Bono-isms and layered vocals and guitars are punctuated and disturbed by percussive electronic hits and corruptions that keep the song from becoming too sedate or predictable.
The same, however, can't be said for "The Fallout," on which Jay Valentich's singing moves from being an integral part of the song to the hands-behind-back Liam Gallagher spotlight. The band has more to it than this sort of alt-arena sing-a-long, but on "The Fallout," the studio-layered vocals and synths are hidden in an attempt to get the audience's lighters out.
Pleasure Technicians has made more of their rock-tronica hybrid than many of the band's contemporaries by transferring to their keyboards and computers all the duties of "traditional" alternative rock music's multiple guitars and drums, without losing sight of the music's basic spectrum. Where they hesitate, on the songwriting battleground, is on the rush to the next hill: incorporating the humanity of the group's songs into that same spectrum. Euthanasia Daydream is a major offensive in that direction, but the battle's not won yet.