Pretty & Nice - Golden Rules for Golden People
Record Label: Rory Records/Equal Vision
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Six shots of espresso.
That's pretty much what the new LP Golden Rules for Golden People from Boston, MA's Pretty & Nice sounds like. The album opens up promising with the swerving, hip-shaking zest of "Stallion & Mare," a refreshingly candid ditty with a definite nod to 70s era album rock and the sun-drenched rhythms of California pop. Carefree, uncompromising and undeniably jubilant, "Stallion & Mare" is as auspicious an opening number as any you'll hear all year. Its successor "Mummy Jets" is draped in ringing guitars and a sound evocative of The Beatles. Towards the end the song becomes noisy and cluttered and yet surprisingly remains infectious and invigorating.
That sense of chaos is revisited in the schizophrenic "Critters," which sound ostensibly like a band jamming out in a rehearsal studio and just kicking it. That it ends up being as catchy as it is continues the discussion of why Pretty & Nice are a band well worth paying attention to. Not one to veer from their MO, "New Czar" vacillates deftly between noisy clutter and sticky sweetness while "Money Music" veers off towards urban and ends up being cacophonous and self-indulgent. Lead single "Q_Q" is a frantic fireball that proves if anything, Pretty & Nice are not one for subtlety, restraint or understatement. Any band who can dial it down and scale it back are worth revisiting and on the subdued "Gold Fools," the quartet sounds eerily like Boston contemporaries Wheat. Aside from the warm acoustic moments of "Golden Rules," there aren't many quiet moments on Golden Rules for Golden People. And maybe that's the point.
When churning out choruses like the effervescent and irresistible one on "Yonkers," there's little reason to dismiss them. But for every titanic jam, there's an undercurrent of mediocrity that is both alarming and disappointing. "Kill the Beast" sounds like a more contrived version of "Kill the Beast," and feels more like filler than anything; while album closer "The Frog" is analogous to much of what we've already heard. Being that this is the band's first full-length with Rory/Equal Vision, there's more than enough reason to bypass the hiccups and ruts. After all, what's the point of creating art if you don't challenge yourself and take chances?
While they haven't exactly reinvented the American songbook, they have compiled a collection of songs that continue to position them as one of Boston, if not New England's most exciting bands. Though it has its shortcomings, Golden Rules for Golden People is a fine extension of the band's critically overlooked EP Us You All We and a fine introduction to a band that three months ago, few if any, had ever heard of.