The Greatest of Pleasure

Even (or perhaps particularly) obscure bands resurrect; Pleasure's original keyboardist, now a prosecuting attorney, brought back a new incarnation of this Portland soul-funk group in 2019 after disbanding 38 years prior. Fans trying to turn back the clock, however, will find a lot of flaws in this retrospective collection: their 1975 début and 1982 swan song are completely ignored, the Afrofuturist "Future Now" comes across as me-too and helplessly dated, cookie-cutter later singles "Yearnin' Burnin'" and "Take A Chance" don't impress and while "Glide" was indisputably their biggest hit we certainly didn't need three versions of it (not least leading off with a limp rap remix overdubbed by Psycho). Fortunately the good singles made it here too including sublimely rich "Ghettos of the Mind" and the insistent sax solos on the superfunky "Joyous," but the best outings are the sensually lyric "Sassafras Girl" (with its softly hooting primal intro yielding a gauzy tropical feel) and my favourite track, "Get to the Feeling," mixing husky vocals, infectious beat, strong horns and an unerring baseline that's never off point. (So funky, in fact, that they basically ripped it off for "The Real Thing" and nearly as good, so we'll forgive it.) Add on the boisterous "Let's Dance" and "Foxy Lady" and you've got a real party. We wish their revival luck because they'll have some big shoes to fill: while this album proves their discography wasn't always distinguished, more often than not it still delighted. (Content: no concerns.)