Pretty Hot / Ghost Mice - Split (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Pretty Hot / Ghost Mice

Split (2005)


The folk-punk movement has been coming to a boil in the United States for a number of years. With the recent explosion in Against Me!'s popularity and the signing of two of the scene's better-known bands (This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb and Defiance, Ohio) to No Idea Records, it looks as though things are only going to get better for the group of musicians who have managed to become standout characters in the music.

Pretty Hot and Ghost Mice got together last year and managed to compile six songs from each camp with the end result being one of the best albums of 2005.

Pretty Hot, who share a few members with Defiance, Ohio, lead off the album with songs that show enormous potential for the band. The split is the band's first non-demo release, but the opening track, "Carlisle," sounds like the work of a band just coming to realize their abilities after years of touring and songwriting. "Carlisle" explodes with the determined optimism that is only found in those desperately clinging onto the ideals and energy of their youth. Such emotions are demonstrated clearly on the chours "And I don't want to grow up / But that doesn't mean I want to stop growing / It's right here in front of us / These times, these years were not enough," and again on the last verse, "We can live our lives like this is as good as it gets / Or let our dreams become our apathy / Or we can admit that the things we do and make are what we make of them."

The rest of Pretty Hot's half is able to maintain the energy of their opening track, although it didn't hit me with the emotion found at the start. Like Ghost Mice, the band has male and female vocals that take turns belting out the three re-recorded and three new songs they provide.

Then there's Ghost Mice, who mix the personal and political with more gusto and conviction than anyone else who has lent their voice to my stereo in recent memory. Opening track, "The Good Life" is simple enough in that it displays the band's desire for a simple and happier world, but they do it with a sense of light-heartedness that allows the song to avoid becoming too cheesy. Meanwhile, "Free Pizza for Life," an account of sleeping in cars and scamming for free food is probably my favorite song of 2005.

I don't remember the last time I played a new CD and thought to myself instantly that what I'm listening to is the very album I've been waiting to hear for years, which is what happened when I listened to Ghost Mice.