We would if we were French, anyway—le petit mort. Wicked classy. It’s getting to be pretty amazing, the ambitious literary and stylistic terrain that bands are probing and staking out for themselves these days with so many genres now so thoroughly saturated with gimmicks and flimsy concepts as to make them redundant and, for all the pageantry, kinda boring.
Can’t say for sure what’s supposed to be so decadent about San Francisco trio Pleasure Forever, except to say that their promotional materials betray an uncommonly literary fondness for new lows (highs, maybe) of overindulgence in body and spirit. Freedom through excess and so on.
Fair enough—I know it’s only rock’n’roll, but I like it. Humorously enough, though, if you look closely at the soirée in progress on the cover of their self-titled album released last month on Sub Pop, you can plainly see that it’s a composite of several photographs featuring the same six or eight participants. Kind of an interesting comment on the state of hedonism, at least in the Bay Area. Can real dissolution adhere in good conscience to an Adobe Photoshop budget?
Tough to say if anyone would catch the hedonism angle without the party photo and the accompanying text. The music is sorta dirgey, sorta torchy, somber cabaret for the fairly simple instrumentation of piano, bass and drums—at times not unlike the Bad Seeds, or the prettier moments of the Swans minus the sepulchral boom of Michael Gira. Nothing discursively decadent about any of it, except possibly for the woozy cabaret feel to the piano playing. Still, it sounds pretty together for something that purportedly celebrates falling apart.
The free-associating lyrics have a whiff of the lamp about them; obviously intended to evoke instead of elucidate, mostly they just sound like poetry culled from the circular file in a freshman poetry class. For hedonists, maybe Pleasure Forever are just trying too hard to balance theory with poetry about it; however, when the songs and the underlying concept meet just so, as on “Meet Me In Eternity,” the scent of sex and suicide is strong enough to let you know they occasionally succeed.
Pleasure Forever play this Thursday at Jay’s Upstairs with the Preemies and Bishop Don Magic Juan. 10 PM. Cover TBA.