Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pretty & Nice -- Get Young (2008)

Pretty & Nice -- Get Young (Hardly Art)

Hey, it’s an arty pop band! Pretty & Nice like the ol’ herky-jerk, mixing dissonant chords and riffs with wonderful melodies. This album merits comparisons to early XTC, Lilys The Sugarplastic and 10CC, among others. If that sounds appealing, you may have a new favorite band.

The album gets off to a great start with the dissonant (hard to find a synonym for that) yet poppy “Piranha”. The band alternates a noisy guitar clang with sweet melodic bursts, with the seeming mess resolving itself in a swell twee pop chorus.

The band then finds a mid-point between Futureheads and Field Music on “Hideaway Tokyo”. A robust guitar part rides over art-pop undercurrents, while somehow the band manages to tuck in a verse that is simulataneously aggressive and pastoral. And this is all crammed into two minutes without feeling overstuffed.

Not everything is go go go. “Pixies” works mid-tempo magic with a repetitive damaged blues rock guitar part. Again, the juxtaposition is what makes it work, as the band shifts into pixie mode (by that I mean purty music) while singing “fly away you pixies.” Like the band the Pixies, Pretty & Nice know how to work dynamics. But they like to go from loud to soft, rather than the other way around.

The great thing about this approach is that it allows for a lot of variations. So the band easily carries ten songs in just a bit shy of 28 minutes. This 2008 release should not be overlooked, as this band has plenty of energy and ideas, a great combination.

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