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Pretty Girls Make Graves - The New Romance (Cover Artwork)

Pretty Girls Make Graves

Pretty Girls Make Graves: The New RomanceThe New Romance (2003)
Matador Records

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:


Contributed by: JeloneJelone
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For a little while there, Pretty Girls Make Graves really had something going. Just a year after dropping the amazing Good Health, the closest humans have ever come to producing a sequel to Discount's Crash Diagnostic, the band returned in 2003 with an equally stunning record, The New Romance. But w.
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For a little while there, Pretty Girls Make Graves really had something going. Just a year after dropping the amazing Good Health, the closest humans have ever come to producing a sequel to Discount's Crash Diagnostic, the band returned in 2003 with an equally stunning record, The New Romance. But within that year, the band had already evolved beyond the punk/emo sound it rode in on, gravitating more towards indie rock (or at least, the kind of indie rock that would have been called emo in the '90s). Even the band's taste in labels reflected the change, as PGMG jumped from Lookout! to Matador.

That growth proved to be for the best. Good Health was a great album, all ramped up with angst, longing and fury, but it's doubtful the band could have repeated that formula successfully. New Romance found the members tinkering with how they expressed themselves. The emotions are still very much on their sleeves (Sample lyric: "Hello / I'm neurotic / Creating problems that don't exist," from "Blue Lights"), but the music strives for something darker, moodier, more atmospheric. Whatever pop-punk tendencies the band held are sublimated, although they do crop up every so often.

There's still some punk here. "The Grandmother Wolf" is a solid second track, packing a big chorus over big guitars. "All Medicated Geniuses" is another track begging to be shouted. While the band's next record, Élan Vital, lost that kind of exuberance in favor of mood, The New Romance nicely balances the two directions.

That's partially because the record has some push/pull going for it, something that didn't really happen on Good Health, which was pretty much just "on" all the time. That's why the band can separate enthusiastic tracks "All Medicated Geniuses" and "Chemical, Chemical" with "Blue Lights," a song so dark and depressing that its bassline sounds like it's from the Cure's Pornography.

New Romance hasn't quite been canonized like some other records from the early aughts (At the Drive-In's Relationship of Command, Bear vs. Shark's Right Now, You're in the Best of Hands…), but it certainly deserves a spot. It's just as passionate, just as explosive. A bit tempered, perhaps, but there's nothing wrong with a bit of restraint.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Thursday - A City by the Light DividedThe Clash - London CallingWeezer - WeezerPretty Girls Make Graves - Good HealthWeezer - PinkertonCursive - The Ugly OrganPretty Girls Make Graves - Elan VitalThe Hold Steady - Stay PositiveThe Raveonettes - In and Out of ControlThe Mountain Goats - The Life of the World to Come DVD

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
SwissCheese (May 3, 2012)

This Romance be Old yo!! Was never big on this album. Only really liked Good Health by them

I _loved_ the one before this one, but this one is unlistenable for me.

fattony (May 1, 2012)

Love this album, but it doesn't make its way into my rotation very often, whereas Good Health does. You're probably right though, they may not have been able to replicate that success. Elan Vital just made me sad.

Sliced-T (May 1, 2012)

I know I've heard this album a number of times, but I cannot for the life of me remember how it sounds in the least. I always liked that band name, though.

greg0rb (May 1, 2012)

Great stuff. Yeah, when Elan Vital hit, I was like "awww, MAN! They lost it."

The59Pounds (May 1, 2012)

Yah, I liked this CD a lot back in tha' day. Still remember the whole "here's the kid with the golden arm, he admits to the forest fire..." so they musta been doing something right ;)

Zach_post (May 1, 2012)

I remember in high school bear vs.shark and pretty girls make graves was my go to albums... I think we would've made good friends then. This album also introduced me to the matador roster. Good memories.

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