Critic's Choice

Who let the satyrs out? Pleasure Forever -- performing Saturday, July 7, at Tulagi and Sunday, July 8, at the 15th Street Tavern -- offers Bacchanalian excess the likes of which haven't been heard since Jim Morrison rode his panther-drawn chariot into rock-and-roll Valhalla. Preoccupied with eternity, drowning and the crushing blackness of night (in addition to hot, saucy stiletto-knocking s-e-x), this San Francisco-based trio lays waste to prissy cocktail music with the click of a switchblade. Through piano-driven melodrama worthy of any Peter Greenaway feast, drummer David Clifford, guitarist Joshua Hughes and vocalist/pianist Andrew Rothbard juggle chaos and eros with the best of the libertines: Aleister Crowley, Antonin Artaud and even W. C. Fields at his most gloriously sozzled. Sprung from the thigh of Zeus (or, more accurately, from early incarnations as VSS, then the Slaves), Pleasure Forever thrives on melodic tension and release, as showcased on its impressive, self-titled debut for Sub Pop. Cut from the same soot-colored cloth as the brooding Nick Cave, PF's distinctive musical decadence borders on a celebration of infinite bliss -- a freefall to ecstasy, a mobius striptease of topless witches. A Rocky Mountain homecoming for Clifford, a Boulder native, the weekend's upcoming fertility rites "take dead aim in a dead-end town" alright, with darkly beautiful and intense meditations on the limitless human appetite. There's also the outside chance of enjoying harmonic zithers and some unscheduled pagan schadenfreude -- you know, in case some poor, uppity bouncer gets puked on.


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