"Good Health" is the debut CD from this band, and there are more than a few good reasons for the buzz you are already hearing about them. An impressive pedigree (members of Murder City Devils, Death Wish Kids, Beehive Vaults, Kill Sadie), a live show embodying the honesty and intensity at the heart of punk rock, and a sound defying any limiting definitions you have for hardcore and emo are just a few of those reasons. Active for only a year, they have already garnered an impressive following. Singer Andrea Zollo's vocals and lyrics will soon have you filing her right next to Exene Cervenka and Penelope Houston as powerful and vital singers. Musically, the band explores territories similar to Fugazi, At the Drive In, and Sleater-Kinney.
If you combined all of the prior musical experience of Seattle outfit Pretty Girls Make Graves into a single person, you'd have, well, a really old guy. The thing about it is, all that musicianship comes through, even though Pretty Girls Make Graves play the sort of bouncy, poppy, energetic not-quite-punk that isn't usually associated with stellar musicianship. The deceptively simple song construction and hooky melodies cover a startling truth: Pretty Girls Make Graves kick butt as musicians. That raises the level of their material from a bunch of pleasant songs to a collection of tight, ear-catching music that wouldn't have sounded out of place on the High Fidelity soundtrack. It's a little too pretty to be punk, a little too raw to be pop, and a little too elegantly constructed to be rock & roll. And that makes it just about perfect. --Genevieve Williams
Any band with a name from Jack Kerouac's "The Dharma Bums" has to be worth it.
It's a long drive to Lawrence. Along the way I had time to think. I was mostly hoping that this `legendary' band lived up to the hype. There is a lot of buildup surrounding the Pretty Girls. You see P.G.M.G. are somewhat of a supergroup. It features various members of Kill Sadie, Deathwish Kids and the beloved Murder City Devils. This will be hard to live up to.
Pretty Girls Make Graves definitely live up to the hype. With their backgrounds, they even surpass it. They are taking their experiences from different bands to form a very cohesive and stellar whole.
P.G.M.G. started their set with the first song off the album `Good Health'. The song, `Speakers Push the Air' is about the music that changes your life. Even though the song was performed brilliantly, I was a little disappointed. I thought this meant that they were going to hustle through every song in the order of the album and then call it a night.
This fear was unfounded. They launched into `Chemical, Chemical' a song off of their upcoming album, `A New Romance'. This song was musically complex and the lyrics were electric. All I could think at this point was that the new album will be exceptional.
As the night went on, Pretty Girls Make Graves played more songs off of their current album. ` More Sweet Soul' was an audience favorite. `If you hate your friends, your not Alone' inspired some thrashing and head bobs.
One of my many favorites of the evening was, `By the Throat'. This is a somewhat angry and rebellious song featuring lyrics like, ` I am choking and I can't breathe.' This song is good on `Good Health', and it is flawless live. Andrea Zollo's vocals were the perfect focal point for this song. Her schoolyard girl gang taunts were cynical and [upset] with an awesome sense of melody. J.Clark's guitar gave the song soul and depth. He did a great job in Nathan Thelen's absence. Nick DeWitt's drumming was powerful and gave the song its raging backbone. Derek Fudesco's bass made the floor shake with rhythm and it made us want to dance our aggressions away.
Another favorite of the evening was the lovely and melodic song, `The Getaway'. This song is a stunning keyboard infused melody. Live, this sweet song about running away from all your problems and frustrations with someone you love was clearly epic. P.G.M.G. showed us that they were talented musicians that could handle anything, even a love song. It was the emotional high point of the show.
As the show continued on the band played more songs of their current album, some songs off the previous e.p. and more new and exciting songs from the upcoming album.
They inspired the whole audience. The girls wanted to be tough, but cool like Andrea. The boys where mimicking Derek and J with there air guitars and air bass, respectively. I even caught a few toward the back thrashing and drumming like Nick. We danced and in some cases, head-bobbed our way into the evening.
That night proved that Pretty Girls Make Graves were more than a flavor of the week band. They are here to stay. This band has a sincere love of what they do and that is what will make them legendary.