Portland-by-way-of-San Francisco group Pleasure Forever's sound was as dark as the Marlboro Man's lungs on its 2001 self-titled debut. But on the new follow-up, Alter, the trio has lightened up. In an interview with Willamette Week, drummer David Clifford even cited Stone Roses, Jane's Addiction and Oasis as reference points. He was probably half-joking, but quality time with Pleasure Forever's twelve-song opus reveals a swagger that recalls Afghan Whigs' dirty-white-boy R&B or Life of Crime-era Laughing Hyenas' ravaged blues-rock more than previous touchstones such as Nick Cave's Bad Seeds. Pleasure Forever also deviates into woozy Tom Waits territory with lurching, dramatic dynamics often resolved by singer Andrew Rothbard's contemplative piano tinkling. Clifford's active, tom-heavy drums and Joshua Hughes' astringent guitars (frequently evoking the Banshees' John McGeoch) will keep heads nodding while Rothbard's cryptic poetry (Iron lungs as catalyst to arch the aching sky) and emotive yowl keep 'em thinking.