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The Seattle quintet's follow-up to the universally acclaimed "The New Romance", and their first album since the addition of keyboardist Leona Marrs, is by far their most ambitious, multifarious, and scorching to date. Produced by Colin Stewart (Black Mountain, Destroyer), "Elan Vital" provides the band with a bigger, bolder canvas with which to weave their magic. The new material, road-tested at gigs around the globe with Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, and Death Cab For Cutie, shows a blindingly original American band who are improving with each successive album. Matador. 2006.
Weeks on the road with the likes of Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party certainly made an impression this Seattle quintet. On the follow-up to 2003's The New Romance, Pretty Girls Make Graves edge away from scratchy indie rock and embrace a more svelte, early '80s inspired post-punk sound. Much of it has to do with the addition of keyboardist Leona Marrs, whose economical melodies put electronics and retro dance grooves at the fore. Tracks like "Pyrite Pedestal" and "Domino" point the way forward, coming across like a hybrid of The Slits and The Fall. But the experimentation doesn't end there. Tracks like prog-ish "The Magic Hour" and punky-reggae "Selling the Wind" pull the band in more directions than it can always handle. Nobody said growing up is easy. --Aidin Vaziri
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Again, I didn't really care for this cd at first because I didn't know what to think of it. There really is no song you could point to and say "There is the single", where the other cd's had "Speakers Push the Air" and "All Medicated Geniuses". The cd doesn't really "rock" either. It just flows and you find yourself bobbing your head along without even realizing it.
The first track starts off with a whistle and a curious guitar riff. Later on, Andrea belts out one word that describes the whole cd: "Magnetic". After one listen, I wrote off the cd. Then I kept getting parts of the cd in my head, and here I am, giving it a 4/5.
"The Number" is probably my favorite song. It has a great breakdown near the middle of the song that just sounds amazing and breaks into a bass/drum showcase
The album is so different that when "Domino" comes up and Andrea asks "How do you like me, How do you like me now?" You can't help but think that maybe she's asking the listener the same thing.
"Selling the Wind" is a good song, but one can't help but think that it's very Decemberists-influenced.
This cd is best when listened straight through, but if I have to pick the best songs, they would be tracks 1-8 (except track 6...which is just an intermission type track). The end of the cd seems to fade a bit. If you listened to it and didn't like it, try once more. In fact, we should be happy that an indie-fav didn't just quit and make mainstream pop-sounding music.
instead they've gone for a really lazy, laid back style which doesn't hold yer interest. for example one song starts off with a crunchy rocking guitar riff, which sounds promising enough, but then it disappears and is replaced by a dull bass line and doesn't re-appear at all. They then get bored of the bass line and move on to something else at which point the song ends!! the whole album goes like that. Songs barely get going and then promptly end.
The second guitar play has disappeared to! which means you don't get that cool guitar interplay sound which defined their other albums ( I reckon he was the talented one). They've replaced 2nd guitar with a keyboard player who, i kid u not, puts samples of fireworks in one song!! (I've said enough)
C'mon people! lets have a bit of structure/effort/balls. I heard that andrea's vocals are shot n' the doc said she had to cool it down, so I can only assume they are trying to change their direction or something.. But they are heading in the direction of Dido or goldfrapp or something bad like that.
I've listened to the album about 12 times now and can honestly say not a single one really sticks out in my mind.. What d'you guys think about it?
I hope they get their acts together and recover from this droop.
It's like Henry Rollins Said "If you aint gonna put 110% in don't even bother"