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The New Romance

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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.

Customer Reviews


well their first album was amazing. so is this one, but the drums arent as exciting. thats one of the main reasons i fell in love with this band. but i still give it a good review cause overall the cd is great. if your a drum freak like me though, listen to the first album

A broader, but tighter album

While still staying true to much of their post-punk/emocore roots, this album is much more open and, dare I say, accessible than their first album Defitinetly pushing the sound meter over slightly further into the indie rock category. While I will never love this album as much as their first album, I do believe more people will love this one along with me. An excellent followup, and a great introduction to their sound, but from my perspective, a stepping stone to their more hectic, chaotic, and challenging previous album.

Surprising find

I am not of fan of emo music. I do not like Sugarcult and Hawthorne Heights and My Chem. Romance. I came across this album from a friend who said I'd like it. He was very much right. This album avoids emo's general lack of melody and boringness and embraces a post-punk sound. The album leans towards the beginnings of emo (back then it was "emotional punk"). Definitely a fantastic album for any indie rock fan. The opening and closing tracks, along with This Is Our Emergency are the album's strongest points. I certainly hope this group can expand beyond indie rock circles into some well-deserved mainstream knowledge.


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...
Full Bio
The New Romance, Pretty Girls Make Graves
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