April 27, 2006

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Pretty Girls Make Graves, Elan Vital
Matador, 2006

Many will think that Pretty Girls Make Graves have dug their own graves with Elan Vital, but those people are scared of change and will quickly re-submerge themselves in My Chemical Romance and Dashboard Confessionals records.

After three albums, Pretty Girls Make Graves were dangerously close to Rage Against The Machine-esque uniformity in their sound. There is no doubt that The New Romance will remain their “it” record, but it’s always those post mega-success albums like Radiohead’s Kid A or The Smashing Pumpkins’ Ava Adore, that show the organic side of the band for all there weakness and glory. Elan Vital is exactly this.

This is the quintet’s first record since the addition of keyboardist Leona Marrs who has instantly made this record a more enjoyable listening experience. Instead of the three string monotony that could be The New Romance, Elan Vital is expansive, haunting, fun and unpredictable at times. “Nocturnal House” is a dark opener with watery guitar reminiscent of Mars Volta or the early 90’s, while “Pyrite Pedestal” stands on the brink of pop-rock. The most surprising aspect of the Elan Vital is the inclusion of a squeeze box on the screamfest that is “Selling The Wind.”

Whether this is a departure or an interlude in sound for Pretty Girls Makes Graves, it makes for a record of intrigue. B
— D.B.


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