Golden Rules For Golden People

Pretty & Nice

Equal Vision Records, 2013

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Don't be fooled by a name. There is nothing straightforward about Boston trio Pretty & Nice, even if their moniker does describe their sound perfectly. In the half-decade since their last album, the band has shed its art-influenced sounds for a more refined, pop affair. With a handful of friends making cameo appearances, the sounds here traverse chamber pop,  electronica, surf-rock and power pop, all while shunning traditional song structure. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Opening track “Stallion & Mare” brings us back into the familiar harmonies of Pretty & Nice with a lo-fi feel, but soon bursts into a fuller sound that lets us know this is a stronger, bolder version of what we're accustomed to. Later on “Q_Q” shows a more New Wave, quirky side of the band, and “Critters” does a near 180 halfway through, changing tempo and style completely almost like a jam band. Though the band is well versed in writing melodies, they employ lots of noisy moments as well, with “New Czar” finding a nice balance between the two with vocal effects. “Yonkers,” on the other hand, sides more with the universally applauded melodic pop formula, complete with memorable choruses.

While most of us thought Pretty & Nice were on the brink of semi-stardom following their 2008 album Get Young, here they reaffirm themselves as legitimate heavyweights in the indie-rock world. Upping the ante considerably, Golden Rules For Golden People is a power-pop album that takes from so many different genres that it might on paper sound like a cluttered mess and disjointed as hell, but unfolds like an adventurous, glorious listen.

Though comparisons aren't that helpful with an album this hard to pinpoint, The Shins and Saves The Day both came to mind here, the latter mostly in the singing. A triumphant return indeed, expect Golden Rules For Golden People to surface on many year-end top ten lists.

Rating: A-

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