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Artist: Pretty Girls Make Graves
Album: The New Romance
Label: Matador
Release: 2003

Web: Official Site

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Andrea Zollo has this sincere and honest way of putting her heart on her sleeve that separates her from the majority of today's leading ladies in music. Her lyrics are clever, and her vocals are passionate. It also helps that she has one hell of a band to back her voice.

Last year, the Seattle five-piece released their debut album, Good Health, on Lookout Records, a Berkeley, California record label that primarily dedicates itself to punk rock. The label declared them the future of said genre. Well, these guys definitely have roots in punk, but such a title just doesn't do them justice.

Good Health was a great debut, and as with the best debut albums, it displayed a band that had a lot of talent, and would hopefully fulfill their potential on future releases. The band's debut for Matador Records (A label that they fit in on a bit better than they did on Lookout), The New Romance, fulfills those expectations and then some.

Beginning with the fractured "Something Bigger, Something Brighter," the record kicks into high gear. The song is a good way to start things off. PGMG displays their electronic influences throughout the album, especially on the two superb interlude tracks ("Mr. Club," "7."). That diversity, the excellent use of keyboards, and also the intense (and often complex) post-punk guitar work (provided by Nathan Thelen, J Clark) easily sets them apart from the majority of the bands they will be compared with.

"All Medicated Geniuses" is a frantic rocker filled with city life angst, and is one of the album's best highlights. The album has its poppy moments, but it feels quite dark at times. Zollo's voice is scorching on "Blue Lights." You'll swear she's saying "Hello, I'm erotic" at the beginning of the song, but the booklet tells me that it is really "Hello, I'm neurotic." Regardless, I'm a preverted teenager, and this song rules.

"Chemical, Chemical" has a great lead riff and a catchy chorus. The bass (Derek Fudesco) is high in the mix on the album, and is very solid. "The Teeth Collector" is fierce. Zollo sounds amazing, and the backing vocals here are a great addition. "This Is Our Emergency" is the album's first single, and here's to hoping it is scattered all over the radio waves very soon.

When the album's closer, "A Certain Cemetery," is introduced by a haunting keyboard part, you're convinced it is going to turn into one of the most depressing songs you've ever heard. However, the song ends with an uplifting vocal repetition, and is a great closer. Zollo's lyrics and vocals are really excellent on this one.

The New Romance, is, without a doubt, one of the top three records that will be released all year, and should be a great addition to any collection. This band should be huge, but they may be a bit too intelligent for a mainstream audience. Nonetheless, this is a truly original band, and it looks as if they have a bright future ahead of them.

~Huey (9/20/03)

2003 - Please contact me before using anything found on this site.