Review - Alter

Artist: Pleasure Forever

Pleasure Forever's second release for Sub Pop continues its nod to '60s pop, but brings it into the present with healthy doses of punk-infused heat. Just one of a number of contemporary acts with only half a rhythm section, the band formerly known as The Slaves is a bit of an anomaly with a lineup of guitar, drums and piano. The group seems a bit lost at times with the swampy concoction, and edginess is sometimes offset with a too-pretty piano on tracks such as "Rider's Roost." Fortunately, those times are overshadowed when guitarist Joshua Hughes or pianist/vocalist Andrew Rothbard are turned loose. Numbers like "Czarina" are built on Rothbard's piano, and the combination works well with the added undertone of Hughes' guitar. The trade-off resembles a call and response hymn that might be witnessed in the Church of Ozzy, but it eventually converges into a tight rhythm that brings it full circle. The vocals are a bit muddled and lost behind the music until Rothbard unloads, which he does on "Wicked Shivering Columbine" and "Czarina." The instrument combination provides plenty of rhythm, but there's no lack of juice when the time comes to crank it up.