REVIEWS | FEATURES | DEPARTMENTS | BOOMBOX | PODCAST | MISC
SEARCH:
splendid > reviews > 9/2/2003
Pretty Girls Make Graves
Pretty Girls Make Graves
The New Romance
Matador


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "The Grandmother Wolf"

Buy me now
If Dashboard Confessional has put a face to mainstream emo, Pretty Girls Make Graves are most assuredly the new poster children of the underground punk movement. That certainly isn't to say that they're on the verge of selling out, going corporate or any of that schlock, but with an ever-growing fanbase, cross-gender appeal and a move to major-indie Matador, their star is clearly on the rise.

A rickety electric piano opens The New Romance, a simple tacet slowly melding into a flurry of chiming guitar and a slow-burning percussive uprising that erupts into a glorious cacophony, as unerringly tuneful as it is propulsively vicious. Clearly, this isn't your older brother's punk rock. The group's new aesthetic is marked out on album bookends "Something Bigger, Something Brighter" and "A Certain Cemetery"; these are neither wimpy pop songs nor iron-fisted punk songs, but a shimmying amalgamation of DIY attitude and velvety songcraft, not altogether dissimilar to Learning to Crawl-era Pretenders.

The blinding aggression that marked PGMG's earliest output has given way to a shimmering complacency that would kill a lesser act. in the capable hands of Andrea Zollo and her band, this contentment has blossomed into an album bursting at the seams with delirious fervor and unmitigated electricity. There's still a fire in their hearts, but they've figured out how to channel their energy into razor-sharp blasts of molten melody. "All Medicated Geniuses" and "This is Our Emergency" are urgent without being contrived, staccato guitars and strangulating basslines sunk deep within their gummy vocal hooks. "The Grandmother Wolf" and "Blue Lights" are bona fide pop hits in waiting, while the raucous "Chemical, Chemical" is a mascara-stained ode to the joys of elemental love, and the oscillating title track is borderline MOR, all sticky keyboards and decompressed vocals.

It will be interesting to observe how the fickle audience that has propelled PGMG to the heights of indiedom reacts to The New Romance. Chances are good that the group's move away from traditional punk ideals (i.e.: roughed up sound and ratty clothes) toward a more pop-oriented approach will lose them as many fans as they win. Fair enough; anyone who was expecting Pretty Girls Make Graves to record Good Health Pt. 2 has another think coming.



REVIEWS:

12/31/2005:
Ladytron

Brian Cherney

Tomas Korber

UHF

The Rude Staircase

Dian Diaz

12/30/2005:
Helloween

PTI

The Crimes of Ambition

Karl Blau

Rosetta

Gary Noland

12/29/2005:
Tommy and The Terrors

Blacklisted

Bound Stems

Gary Noland

Carlo Actis Dato and Baldo Martinez

Quatuor Bozzoni

12/28/2005:
The Positions

Comet Gain

Breadfoot featuring Anna Phoebe

Secret Mommy

The Advantage

For a Decade of Sin: 11 Years of Bloodshot Records

12/27/2005:
The Slow Poisoner

Alan Sondheim & Ritual All 770

Davenport

Beaumont

Five Corners Jazz Quintet

Cameron McGill

Drunk With Joy

12/26/2005:
10 Ft. Ganja Plant

The Hospitals

Ross Beach

Big Star

The Goslings

Lair of the Minotaur

Koji Asano



Splendid looks great in Firefox. See for yourself.
Get Firefox!


FEATURES:
Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste probably didn't even know that he'd be the subject of Jennifer Kelly's final Splendid interview... but he is!



DEPARTMENTS:
That Damn List Thing
& - The World Beyond Your Stereo
Bookshelf
Pointless Questions
File Under
Pointless Questions
& - The World Beyond Your Stereo


ARCHIVE:
Read reviews from the last 30, 60, 90 or 120 days, or search our review archive.

It's back! Splendid's daily e-mail update will keep you up to date on our latest reviews and articles. Subscribe now!
Your e-mail address:    
REVIEWS | FEATURES | DEPARTMENTS | BOOMBOX | PODCAST | MISC
SEARCH:
All content ©1996 - 2011 Splendid WebMedia. Content may not be reproduced without the publisher's permission.