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Pretty Girls Make Graves

Pretty Girls Make Graves is a great young band which draws from an array of underground influences. Their manic guitar lines and structures draw stylistically from hardcore bands like Drive Like Jehu, Clikatat Ikatowi, and Fugazi, while also recalling guitarist J Clark's previous group Kill Sadie. Meanwhile the lead vocals of Andrea Zollo and the powerful backing vocals of Derek Fudesco (Murder City Devils) provide an organic counter to this chaotic approach, yielding anthemic post-punk songs. These two work well together, offering far more multifaceted vocal parts than most music of this genre. Actually, all five members make vocal contributions, ranging from singing to screaming. This aspect makes comparisons to At The Drive-In inevitable, as does the Pretty Girls Make Graves' remarkable presence and energy, both live and on record.

Despite the brevity of their existence, the Seattle band has already put together a great sound and a strong following. They started off with a 2002 self-titled EP on Dim Mak Records. Although its songs are very good, the band has definitely grown since those recordings. Their debut album Good Health, released later the same year, incorporates the occasional keyboard programming sequence into intros and interludes. These samples and sequences aren't too overwhelming though, contributing well to the flow of each song. They also really help give the ears a change of pace from the chaos that fills most of the album.

In 2003 PGMG toured relentlessly and jumped to a new label home across the country in Matador Records, releasing a sophomore album, The New Romance that ratcheted up both the frenzied desperation and the anthemic appeal of their debut. Getting an assist from producer Phil Elk, the band layers angular guitar riffs upon taut keyboard figures in a tightly controlled rhythmic fury that's propelled forward by some of the best drumming in the world. Zollo's vocals continue to improve; she's now a force to be reckoned with, capable of both thunderous rage and whimpering melodic anguish. Songs like the explosive "All Medicated Geniuses" and the pleading "This Is Our Emergency" seem destined to be punk rock classics, just as Pretty Girls Make Graves seem destined for the highest levels of indie rock greatness. The best thing about them is that unlike so many other hard-rocking bands of the moment, there's nary a whit of hip posturing. Here is one band that truly says what it means and means what it says. You gotta love 'em!