Semi-Famous

Originally released in 1995, Semisonic's Pleasure EP shows the Minneapolis trio in its infancy. At the time of the disc's initial release, Pleasure was the band's name, but threats of a lawsuit forced the switch to Semisonic. Now, with the group in the studio readying its third full-length album, MCA has chosen to reissue the EP to whet fans' appetites.

Four of Pleasure's seven tracks are the kind of slash-and-burn guitar anthems that would later propel the band to mainstream acclaim behind the singles "Down in Flames" and "F.N.T." from the fantastic debut disc Great Divide (1996), and "Closing Time" and "Singing in My Sleep" from the underwhelming follow-up Feeling Strangely Fine (1998). Two of the Pleasure EP's anthems were re-recorded for Great Divide: "Brand New Baby" (RealAudio excerpt) and "The Prize." (This reissue contains an enhanced-CD bonus: the video for "The Prize.")

The EP also has its reflective moments. Frontman Dan Wilson offers a pair of somber odes (the overlong "Wishing Well" and "The Gift") and bassist John Munson adds the gentle love song "Star" (RealAudio excerpt), though his vocals sound pitifully limited when matched with Wilson's tender but rangy tenor.

The disc's best track has long been a favorite of Semisonic's hometown fans: "Sculpture Garden" (RealAudio excerpt) is an effusive rock number about holding hands and kissing in the glow of the Minneapolis skyline.