Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pleasure and the Beast

Pleasure and the Beast was the band formed by Robert Pereno and L.A. (Lowri-Ann) Richards after the breakup of Shock. Shock is best known (when they are known at all) for their pulsating electro cover of the Glitter Band's "Angel Face" (which appeared on the popular Blitz new-wave compilation on RCA)--

Robert Pereno is the frontman, looking and acting uncannily like Will Arnett as G.O.B. Bluth, and one of those women is L.A. Richards. (Also seen are robotic mime duo Tim Dry and Sean Crawford, who became Tik & Tok after Shock disbanded, and went on to record several records of prime minimal synthpop on the Survival label.) Pleasure and the Beast recorded only two singles during their short career. The first, "Dr Sex", was released in 1983 and was produced by Jimme O'Neill of Fingerprintz (and later Silencers) fame. The 12" release, offered here, has an extended version of "Dr Sex" and four additional songs. The title track is upbeat synthpop with lecherous overtones; Pereno and Richards seem to be positioning themselves as a raunchy, new-wave Captain and Tennille. The next two tracks, "Snake" and "Creep", hit a gothic funk groove not unlike early Brilliant; "Rock the House" has a glam-rock shout-along chorus that echoes Shock's glam influences; and the record closes with the pseudo-liturgical "Hymn". The band is listed as Pereno and Richards only, though there are two women with Pereno in the back cover photo; no musicians are credited. For their second release, 1984's "Gods Empty Chair", Pleasure and the Beast expanded to a real band: in addition to singers Pereno and Richards, there are Marty Williamson (guitars), Cheyne (bass), Simon Ellis (keyboards), and Martin Hanlin (drums). This record, produced by Rusty Egan (Visage) marks a turn away from sleaze and toward more "serious" pop. "Gods Empty Chair" sounds like a second-generation copy of New Order (or a copy of Secession), while the B-side, "Sometimes", has a more intense sound in the vein of Killing Joke. Not bad! It's a shame they never made any more records. Robert Pereno went on to have some success as a DJ, but I don't know enough about that to expand on it; I don't know whatever happened to L.A. Richards. I don't have the 7" releases with the single edits, but you can get rips of both 12-inch records here or here.


Anonymous said...

Pleasure and the Beast, Living in Texas, Brilliant... great rare stuff. Thanks for this amazing blog! Greetings from Italy.

Fantod said...

You're welcome, thanks for the kind words!

Maarton said...

Thanks for Pleasure and the Beast! I was looking for these for a very long time!

Anonymous said...

They actually had three singles: Dr. Sex, God's Empty Chair and Rock the House. The first became a big hit in British gay clubs. Pereno and Richards were also TV actors during that time and into the 90's. You can find L.A. on Facebook, by the way.

As for the two women on the back cover, one is Richards and the second is actually Tasty Tim, little-known gender-bender from the 80's (therefore a guy physically).

You can find a bit more about them on Blitzkids page (Geocities.com).

Anonymous said...

If you want more on Pleasure and the Beast go to www.myspace.com/pleasureandthebeast


the saucer people said...

As a young teenager in the early 80s and an avid reader of NME, bands like Shock & Tik & Tok & Alien Sex Fiend for that matter were all considered the superficial yin to the "serious" and "worthy" music yang of the NME...at the time I really bought into that false binary opposition and paid little attention to them.

I really wish I had now because the huge irony is the fact this music sounds far more relevant and of the moment than many of the bands and artists of the early 80s which the NME championed as radical and 'new' whose music sound incredibly dated.

The killer track for me is the 12 inch mix of R.E.R.B. by Shock (I think the music was mainly Rusty Egan and Richard James Burgess for that track on the b-side of Angerl Face.

Anyway I digress....the point I wanted to make is the fact that though I have finally got into Shock & Tik&Tok, I had no idea 'Pleasure & The Beast' existed until I stumbled across the Dr Sex EP on an Italo-disco blog and I have been hunting for the othe 12 inch ever since...so huge thanks for sharing this incredible music...parts of which sound so weirdly "now".

the saucer people said...

I forgot to add has anyone come across their "Rock The House" release from 86/87?

...what interests me about it is the fact its a UK band picking up on the sound of house music way before 99& of the population were even aware of the sound...it forms another part of my opinion that it was the UK electronic 'outsiders' who were early uptakers of house, techno and acid with Psychic TV been perhaps the best example that the acid-house narrative is as much about Hackney as it is Ibiza!

Fantod said...

Thanks to all for sharing their knowledge and experiences here in the comments! Obviously I no longer tend this blog like I used to, but I am committed to keeping the rips available and the comments open for discussion.

I also remember struggling to get into bands the NME said I *should* like, but I was always more into the sound of the music than the political sentiment of the lyrics... especially when they dealt with UK politics, me being American. I switched from NME to Melody Maker as the music reviews in NME dwindled in favor of political reporting.