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On the other end of the spectrum from Devo's clean-cut, postmodern, silicone pop is the acid-rock drone of the late '60s that reverberates through Pleasure Forever's music. "We're equally inspired by a lot of the early psychedelic bands, like 13th Floor Elevators and Pink Floyd," Clifford says. After listening to the group's staggering, eight-and-a-half-minute "Magus Opus," the lineage is easy to trace, though the song owes as much to Bauhaus's "The Three Shadows" as it does to "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun."
All artistic and literary influences aside, Pleasure Forever has no desire to be pegged as an act with a shtick. "In the last year or so there's been a sudden and, for me, unwanted proliferation of concept bands. These bands either decide in advance what genre they want to ape or mock, or they deliberately limit themselves to creating their music inside a tiny, sterile box," Hughes says.
"I've never sat around the study with my smoking jacket and pipe thinking about what kind of concept I was going to pull off the shelf from all of the books that I've read," adds Rothbard.
So what sets Pleasure Forever apart from the gimmicky hordes of neo-goths, retro-wavers and acolyte rock stars that infest the post-hardcore scene today?
"While we're certainly a conscious band in the sense that we are aware of what we're creating, what we sound like and how we present ourselves, to say that we're a deliberate band is way off the mark," Hughes insists. "On the contrary, I think we're a very natural and intuitive band. We play music that springs from ourselves, and if we are seen as deliberate it's because we use performance and artwork to back up our music, to present a complete concept."
"We don't want to come off as a band attempting to make music for an intellectual elite," Clifford says. "There is no joke that we think the 'right people' will get. The footnotes are there for those who care to find them, but first and foremost, we play music because we enjoy it. Our approach to songwriting is simply to mash together disparate influences into something unique and exciting for ourselves and, we hope, for others."
Pleasure Forever maintains hope that the visceral impact of its live shows, as well as its daring songcraft, will outweigh more esoteric conceptual tendencies. "We're still just a rock-and-roll band, and we want to play songs for the fun of it," Clifford says. "We want an audience to enjoy our music and celebrate the brevity of life. I think Andrew W.K. said it best: 'Party till you puke.'"