Pretty Girls Make Graves
Good Health


4.5
superb

Review

by AggravatedYeti USER (46 Reviews)
May 18th, 2010 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: And the tape is clicking on and on

Back in the beginning of 2007, when Seattle based art-punkers Pretty Girls Make Graves announced their impending split after a few additional shows it really didn’t come as much of a surprise. The tension was not only apparent on record but it was pretty easy to tell in a live atmosphere, on stage it almost exuded off of them. Really it was something that gave the band’s first few recordings such a visceral sense of urgency in the first place, it was never a drawback in the musical sense. They managed to walk the line between noise and pop with ease, almost willingly taking hops into either side as they please. This tenacity was always a strong point of PGMG, making their early records, not to mention live sets, a cluster*** of buzzy emotion.

Conflict was bound to rise with the self-described ‘jam band’ recorders though. Giving equal footing to one another in the studio, as lead singer Andrea Zollo described herself and the band (to exclaim.ca) as extremely strong minded, but that they tended not to agree musically. It helped diversify the record, and you can hear the gang-recording in the music, the LP feels almost communal, as if Zollo is just a representative of the hoard. Her own personal diatribes transcending to those of the masses; it also helps that the music is epic. Good Health is less a record of a singular mind or idea, and more of a collection of thoughts and aspirations of a distanced 20-something learning life’s stupid lessons all at once and usually away from home. It’s engaging, jarring, accessible but still technical, loud and hook laden -- oh yeah, and punk as ***.

The break-up aside, when the band followed up their stellar debut EP with this album it was almost a logical progression. The rougher hardcore edges of their brand of booming art-punk were smoothed. They began to rely more heavily on the guitar work of J Clark and Nathan Thelen, allowing them to craft killer licks rather than a mash of chaos (“More Sweet Soul” & “If You Hate Your Friends…”) Derek Fudesco’s bass is still the main source of reverb, as he’s mixed gut wrenchingly low and raw, but it just propels the manic drum work of Nick Dewitt, who can easily take the spotlight if he tries (see “Ghosts In The Radio” & “Sad Girls Por Vida.”) His mix of classic jazz drumming paired with a hardcore penchant for off-beats just enhances the structure being placed around him.

Really the drums are the weight that keep the band’s feet planted firmly in the squall, regardless of how hard they may try for organization. He and Fudesco keep the music on edge; which is imperative for a collection of songs so heavily reliant on their volatile mash of noise, jangle and clash. Pretty Girls Make Graves are more than adept and Good Health practically bleeds pop-savy technicality, each song rife with infectious riffs, maniac drums and almost an overabundance of fist-pumping, head-banging hooks.

As it kind of always was and definitely would blatantly become, Good Health is still the Andrea Zollo show. Honestly it’s probably the best season, her invigorated yelps and thunderous growls are at their fullest, even her softer performance on “The Get Away” exhibits a venomous quality. Though, this whole I could kick your ass persona Andrea exudes is just a bonus to her performances on record. There are times when she just seriously sounds psychotic (album standout “By The Throat”), in the best way possible. Her ability to switch from an angelic coo to a earth-shaking scream on a dime was always impressive, but it was her proficiency with which she uses her voice that always made her stand out. It wasn’t so much that she could, but more so that Andrea knew when and where to stick the tension, or to bring back the hooks -- and regardless of how the band may have been writing the tunes in the studio, it was still Zollo who was the selling point in the end.

Her on record persona (not to mention gravitational stage presence), albeit a bit rough, was never too concerned with itself. In reality, that assertion probably couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Seeing as Zollo would later garner an abundance of “control freak” jibes amongst many rumors; but at least on Good Health she still seems more concerned with the music compared to her own image. Which is a good thing, being that in the end what gives Good Health it’s (immense) replay value is just that sense of teetering madness; the vitality of the entire group of musicians seemingly at odds with itself right from the start lends the album an air of purpose, like these people believe so much in what they had to say that they’d suffer through each other to deliver it. Thankfully you don’t need to suffer through anything to hear it, Good Health is a doctor recommended excursion from front to back.



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user ratings (38)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
AggravatedYeti
May 18th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this has been a long time coming.

Sad Girls Por Vida
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CP2bKb4j9fo&feature=related

Speakers Push The Air
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yeelwuKnCs

and blargh the damn track list is f'ed

robin
Emeritus
May 18th 2010


4261 Comments


no tracklist douche. good review

...why isn't this twee?

AggravatedYeti
May 18th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cuz your face.

but ya don't worry I'm working on Field Mice'ing the fuck out of this place.

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2010


28822 Comments


win. same rating. love this cd. good review. pos.

Digging: Charli XCX - Sucker

Yotimi
May 18th 2010


6570 Comments


Good stuff man. I love 'The Get Away'.

Parallels
May 18th 2010


6643 Comments


Awww no you beat me to it!!!!!
I was gonna do this review!
Gah oh well. Pos'd good health stuff here

AggravatedYeti
May 18th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I mean, still write it Sonic ;)
Your 'New Romance' review was sweet.
Band needs more love here anyways.

and thanks Yotimi & Academy

DoubtGin
May 18th 2010


6754 Comments


gonna listen to these guys again

I heard a pretty cool song back then but couldnt remember what album it was from so I downloaded a random one and it was their latest effort and I was like "meh" so I wrote them off; but this one and "The New Romance" are getting great reviews so I might check them out again.

props for the review.

AggravatedYeti
May 18th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^ Elan Vital was pretty much junk, so it's understandable.

this on the other hand, the EP and 'The New Romance' are great.

thanks as well

Ponton
Emeritus
May 18th 2010


5820 Comments


Nice dude, not my thing i think though

Digging: Gates - Bloom and Breathe

AggravatedYeti
May 18th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

maybe not, though Im convinced you could enjoy it
either way appreciate the compliment as usual sir.

Kiran
Emeritus
May 19th 2010


6002 Comments


hmmmmm do i want this

AggravatedYeti
May 19th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

NOPE

Kiran
Emeritus
May 19th 2010


6002 Comments


knew i could count on you!

AggravatedYeti
May 19th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

What I'm here for baby-cakes :D

but yah get this

sixdegrees
February 24th 2013


17723 Comments


I like this chick's vocals

Digging: Sputnik - Christmas At Our House



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