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Pretty Girls Make Graves: J. Clark (vocals, guitars, saxophone, trumpet, keyboards, drums, programming); Leona Marrs (vocals, accordion, melodica, piano, keyboards); Derek Fudesco (bass guitar); Andrea Zollo, Nick deWitt.
Personnel: Leona Marrs (vocals, accordion, melodica, piano, keyboards); Nick deWitt (vocals, trumpet, piano, drums, sampler); Andrea Zollo, Derek Fudesco (vocals); Dude In A Room (percussion).
Photographer: Dan Monick.
The Seattle post-punk band Pretty Girls Make Graves's sound is dreamy, vibrant, and imaginative. On their second album, ELAN VITAL, alternately ringing and clipped guitar and angular percussion frames singer Andrea Zollo's smart, feisty vocals, while an imaginative production steers the band's sound firmly away from empty alternative rock gestures. The album's opener, the unsettling "The Nocturnal House," hints at a fierce artistic intelligence at work--by the closing "Bullet Charm," the evidence is overwhelming.
Pretty Girls Make GravesOn last year?s debut, Pretty Girls Make Graves asked, "Do you remember when the music meant something?" Now, with their bigger, brighter followup The New Romance, Pretty Girls Make Graves are through with questions - they?re here to remind you themselves.Pretty Girls Make Graves formed in Seattle in 2001, fused together out of the still glowing embers of nearly a dozen important groups. Andrea and Derek had played together in Death Wish Kids and Area 51 along with Dann Gallucci, with whom Derek formed the popular Murder City Devils. Shortly before the Murder City Devils called it quits, he and Andrea started Pretty Girls Make Graves with Jay (who was in Kill Sadie and Sharks Keep Moving) and Nick and Nathan (both in Bee Hive Vaults). The band released an EP on DimMak before releasing their debut album Good Health on Lookout in April 2002. If Good Health was the exhilarating sound of five people mashing their myriad ideas and influences into fresh noise, The New Romance is the sound of one incredibly confident band capable of anything.Lead singer Andrea Zollo is ferocious, sultry, and whip-smart. She sings about separation, sedation, television, boredom, sadness, and addiction - and does so with enough urgency to snap you out of all six. Basically, she wants you to get off your ass. "We want more than memories," she sings in "The Grandmother Wolf." "All Medicated Geniuses" bemoans a "spent and sick" city where "our ideas die so quickly" - maybe the same city of "A Certain Cemetary," where the feelings are "as dark as this town...let?s get out of this mess." (Yo, Seattle!) "I?m fine," Zollo insists on "Blue Lights," and though you know she?s anything but, The New Romance is hardly about wallowing; Pretty Girls Make Graves are all about the galvanizing power of their music. The album?s high point is the inspirational "This Is Our Emergency," which reminds us not to give up on the few dreams we have left. "It hasn?t been in vain," sings Zollo (listen closely, you can almost hear her fist in the air), "unfulfillment is killing you." The song is a masterpiece, a rousing alarm claxon, a middle-finger raised against apathy, and a group hug all rolled up into an utterly essential three minutes and forty-four seconds.
Now that everyone and their mom is messing around with variations on post-punk revivalism, Seattle sluggers Pretty Girls Make Graves have done a complete overhaul of the emo-warped herky-jerky assault they perfected on 03's The New Romance. Co-produced with Colin Stewart (Black Mountain), the disc opens with Andrea Zollo yelping reggae-inspired melodies over a melodica- and whistle-bolstered call to arms, then sails through bouncy singalong synth-pop strike anthems, accordion-driven ditties with Homeric lyrics and even a couple of skank-friendly cuts. It's not till track 10, Pictures Of A Night Scene, that PGMG return to the jittery, over-caffeinated punk urgency of The New Romance. Amazingly, though Elan Vital easily could've become their resounding Sandinista flop, Zollo's clean vocals, knife-sharp melodies and subtle politically charged songwriting help secure its nomination as Pretty Girls' London Calling. Awesome.
Pretty Girls Make Gr
Elan Vital is easily the band's most adventurous disc to date.
This is the thinking person's dance music with lyrical content to match.
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