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Pleasure Forever

Pleasure Forever is prescription for a nightmare: a sonic heart attack in a gelatin-filled room which seizes your muscular control while waves of liquid animal parts ripple past. Dark and surreal, suffused with a crisp electric terror like a tazer hit in a kiddie pool filled with blood, this trio showers you with lavish gifts while slowly drugging you. When you finally realize what they've done to you, it's too late: you're trapped in the music's powerful embrace.

Pleasure Forever is three of the four members of The VSS (GSL head Sonny Kay, who started Subpoena The Past, was the fourth). In their new incarnation, they have retained their previous band's darkened spirit, seeking even higher forms of glittering decadence and black hedonism. For a few years they called themselves SLAVES, before changing their name to reflect their true purpose: to celebrate "that orgone enigma of human will and desire toward decadent extremes." As SLAVES, the gothically minded trio released a brooding, nihilistic CD on Troubleman, entitled The Devil's Pleasures (featuring "Chemical Priest"). After retooling as Pleasure Forever, the band released an album of the same name (featuring "Goodnight") on Sub Pop, which, in a doomy, cabaret-inflected manner, further examines our fascination with what George Bataille termed "le petit mort" -- "the little death," the climax, the orgasm -- in all its guises.

In 2003, the trio returned with their second exercise in perpetual delight, also on Sub Pop, this record titled Alter. It shows a band still more capable of delivering maximum rock and roll indulgence, wandering fearlessly from off-kilter piano-driven midnight cabaret pieces to spooky haunted house theatrics to blistering darkside hard rock. While some might intially have dismissed Pleasure Forever as too pretentious for their own good, they have pursued their stated aims with such unabashed vigor and esprit that even the most jaded must acknowledge their unique ability to push rock into previously uncharted, dark, damaged, and disturbingly sexual territory. By the same token, Alter is so confidently, engagingly, and attractively strange, it might well be the record that knocks the band up a level in popularity and reach.

You need not be afraid of Pleasure Forever. Simply accept your fate and listen...listen...because you have no choice.