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Moral Pleasures to Release New EP 'Sleepy Songs For Dying Loves'

Sleepy Songs For Dying Loves is a short collection of simple and dream-like love songs told from various perspectives, times, and places.

Moral Pleasures to Release New EP 'Sleepy Songs For Dying Loves'

Today, Alberta-based Moral Pleasures (mem. Pkew Pkew Pkew) announces a new EP and shares the lead single, "Prospero" via Exclaim. His sophomore EP Sleepy Songs for Dying Loves is a 5 song dream pop EP, due out 6/11.

"Prospero" is a cathartic indie rock anthem exploring the passing of time and the feeling of losing control. In a brooding swirl of ambient synth pads and distorted Telecaster riffs, Moral Pleasures brews up a bewitching concoction for his listeners. Perhaps even more enticing than the emotionally charged, gritty instrumentation setting the mood for the track is the vulnerability of McKinley's vocals - emotive, breathy, and intimate, as if whispering a confession into your ear.

On the track, McKinley says: ""Prospero" is about control, time, and memory. You can cultivate long and meaningful relationships in your life, but at some point, you'll have to learn how to say goodbye to someone you love. You can't keep someone physically alive or healthy forever, but the place they hold in time and memory is a form of eternal life. When I wrote it, I was listening to a lot of Jeff Buckley. I can't sing like that, but I tried to capture some of the emotion that his songs always have"

Sleepy Songs For Dying Loves is a short collection of simple and dream-like love songs told from various perspectives, times, and places. Diverting from the typical love song tropes, McKinley veers away from themes of straight-up heartbreak, deceit, and lust, taking a more psychological and existential approach, confronting the problem of mortality in the face of love and happiness.

In the collection of cerebral songs, McKinley masterfully weaves together references to art, poetry, literature, and psychology through a nostalgic (but not rose-tinted) lens. Written in a week-long stint cooped up at home in Alberta in January, themes of longing and dreams resurface throughout the five tracks, glued together with an overarching ambient sonic pallette. Combining his love for "weird neo-classical and ambient electronic music," synth pads and drones pervade the undercurrents of the record, giving it a spacey, ethereal energy. The EP was written, produced, recorded, and mixed entirely by McKinley in his home studio, and was mastered by Jon Drew (fed Up, Tokyo Police Club, Pkew Pkew Pkew).

Ryan McKinley didn't plan on recording his own solo music, but 2020 changed things for the lead guitarist of the forever-on-tour, blue-collar punk band Pkew Pkew Pkew. His day-to-day flipped from being on the road with his three friends to being locked down in Alberta with his girlfriend and their cat.

It wasn't an unwelcome change. But by the time Pkew Pkew Pkew caught a break from a simultaneously gruelling and rewarding two-year album cycle that saw them achieve career highs - writing with The Hold Steady's Craig Finn and appearing on Late Night with Seth Meyers - the entire world was entering a state of emergency.

Like most, Ryan's last year was full of anxiety, sadness, and frustration; but beneath it all, there was a sense of calm and relief. Using it all as inspiration to do something different, he quickly built himself a simple home studio and learned the basics of recording. Then he started writing.

The result of this creative burst is the dreamy new bedroom pop project, Moral Pleasures. It launched at the very end of 2020 with a debut 4-song EP. Persepolis, invites the listener into Moral Pleasures with a folk and pop-tinged mix of dreamy soundscapes and psychedelic themes.

Eager to build off of what Persepolis started, Moral Pleasures is set to release a second EP in the spring of 2021. Simple Songs For Dying Loves is a collection of 5 stripped-down, ethereal pop songs tied together by the theme of eternal love in a finite world. "We're all forced to confront loss at some point or another," explains Ryan. "These songs moderate the debate of whether it's better to love and lose or never love at all."

Bookish by nature, Ryan's lyrics are laden with references to mythology, allusions to history, and homages to his favourite musicians, artists, writers, and poets. Artistically influenced as much by Yeats as he is by Kate Bush, the musical and lyrical themes of Moral Pleasures decidedly share center stage in the creative process.

Filtered through those varied influences are the experiences of the last few years. A move from Toronto to the prairies of Alberta in 2018 saw Ryan leave a social and hectic life for a more quiet and contemplative one. Uprooting his life at the twilight of youth invited the isolating feeling that we've all felt this past year. Moral Pleasures was borne out of a need to find personal peace in new surroundings.

At first, Moral Pleasures feels in conflict with the sardonic drunk punk anthems Ryan's other band is known for. But one cannot exist without the other. In one universe, Pkew Pkew Pkew lets him become the half-lit pseudo guitar god that he grew up worshipping. Through the wormhole, Moral Pleasures allows him to explore the boundaries of what he's capable of and find personal meaning in the creative process.

Which person you find depends on which universe you're floating in.

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