Prettier Than Pink
After pillaging every Gang of Four riff in existence, the new wave revival has taken an expected turn. Let's face it: Nobody predicted the arrival of an all-girl Filipino-Irish neo-psychedelic new wave pop/rock band. That may sound like a mouthful, but shockingly it's still not enough to define this oddball, yet utterly charming group. Prettier Than Pink are as colorful as their name. This is a band that junks the drab wallpaper of '90s alternative rock and spray paints it with Day-Glo images. No metallic screeching here; Prettier Than Pink takes the girl-band genre back to its roots with their lovable harmonies and sunny hooks.
At the same time, Prettier Than Pink twists conventions. As with the best British new wave groups of the '80s, not everything is as it seems. "Little Men, Big Cars," for example, rides on a surf riff that the shallow guys the lyrics are attacking would most likely use to groove. After Nicolas Cage plays him, everybody will know who "Johnny Blaze" is and realize that this portrays a warped obsession with the demonic Ghost Rider. The track's gothic touches -- funereal percussion, ominous strings, black widow crooning -- seemed out of place on first listen, but Prettier Than Pink's purpose becomes clear after repeated spins. This is a band that places no boundaries between genres; however, this is not unfocused schizophrenia. Every track deserves a different treatment, whether it's the hyper thrills of punk rave-up "Kryptonite" or the luscious '60s beach balladry of "Baby."
The production strays from indie clichés, opting for larger, chunkier guitar riffs that rock while not losing their pop sheen. In terms of composition, "Mars" is the most advanced, turning formulaic soft/loud dynamics inside out with its abrupt changes in tempo and skillful, exciting jamming. "Irish Rose" is thunder in a bottle, bursting out of the gates with a theatrical Edge-like shimmer.
Combining Asian and European roots in rock & roll will be considered mainstream one day; for now, Prettier Than Pink are pointing to the future with palatable giddiness.