The Unsustainable Lifestyle album cover
The Unsustainable Lifestyle

Beauty Pill

Dischord Records

Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Chad Clark — who also owns Silver Sonya, the Arlington, VA, studio where many Dischord releases have been mastered or remastered — joined the Dischord roster in the mid-‘90s as a member of eclectic post-hardcore outfit Smart Went Crazy. His next project, the still-active Beauty Pill, made its full-length debut with The Unsustainable Lifestyle, an album of subtle, richly textured art pop. Clark’s gentle vocal delivery shines on tracks like “The Mule on the Plane,” a quietly harrowing portrait of a drug courier white-knuckling through a flight, while Rachel Burke’s limpid melodies take the lead elsewhere, as on the engrossing, slow-building “Lifeguard in Wintertime.” Overall the band seems unbounded by style, jamming out on percussion-heavy instrumental rocker “The Western Prayer,” turning down for the melancholy indie-pop balladry of “Nancy Medley, Girl Genius, Age 15” or exploring trip-hoppy beats and samples on “Won’t You Be Mine,” diverse forays that flow together seamlessly. (The Unsustainable Lifestyle saw reissue earlier in 2023 via Ernest Jenning Record Co. comp The Blue Period, which also featured an earlier Dischord EP, You Are Right to Be Afraid.)

Hank Shteamer

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