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The New Romance

Pretty Girls Make Graves

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Album Review

How many times have you seen it happen: indie hotshot band makes a swell record, gets lots of press, builds a fan base, signs to a bigger label, and immediately releases a completely horrible record that loses all its fans and turns the critics into a frothing pack of wild dogs. Quite often. Pretty Girls Make Graves manages to nimbly sidestep this tragedy by signing with Matador (just a small leap up in size from Lookout) and releasing a record that is actually a whole lot better than anything the group has previously done. In fact, it is better than one could imagine them ever being. The New Romance is a dramatic, thoughtful, emotional, imaginative, and hard-rocking effort full of songs that will tug at your heartstrings anthemically. The band, with help from producer Phil Ek, tones down its sonic assault a couple of notches and allows the music to open up and breathe some. Songs like "Something Bigger, Something Brighter," the desperate-sounding "The Teeth Collector," and "This Is Our Emergency" are epics built around the spiraling guitars of Nathan Thelen and Jay Clark, manic yet tightly controlled drums, fuzzy keyboards, and Andrea Zollo's soaring vocals; she's lost all traces of riot grrrl tunelessness but none of the toughness or power. There are traces of '80s post-punk, Sonic Youth, Fugazi, and emo in their sound; you could lump them in with the new wave of new wave bands like Hot Hot Heat or the Vue because they seem to share the same aesthetic. The only difference is that the members of Pretty Girls Make Graves mean every word they say and note they play. And they are as good as any of the bands they take their cues from. The New Romance is the kind of record that will make the band's career. Put Pretty Girls Make Graves on the short list of bands that matter and make sure you get this record.

Biography

Formed: 2001 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Named for either the Smiths song or a line from Kerouac's The Dharma Bums, Seattle, WA's Pretty Girls Make Graves began touring the country only months after the Murder City Devils, which Derek Fudesco also played bass in, called it quits. During the summer of 2001, Fudesco started writing songs with friends Andrea Zollo (whom he played with in Death Wish Kids), ex-Bee Hive Vaults members Nathen Johnson and Nick DeWitt, plus Kill Sadie's Jason Clark. Their first release, a self-titled, four-song...
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The New Romance, Pretty Girls Make Graves
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