Pretty & Nice

Golden Rules for Golden People

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Moving from Sub Pop's Hardly Art subsidiary to Equal Vision in the five years since their last outing, the opening notes of the third Pretty & Nice album indicate a change from their quirky art pop to the trendy eight-piece sound often utilized by the bearded bands of 2013. Luckily, they haven't gone completely over to the side of Mumford & Sons. Utilizing a fuller, slicker production than on Get Young, Golden Rules for Golden People finds the Boston group refining its angular sound with pop polish. There are hints of the cuteness found in chamber pop, with claps, trumpets, sweet coos, and anthemic yelling coming into play, courtesy of a long list of guest musicians. However, by the halfway point, with the upbeat, but especially quirky "Q_Q," it becomes clear that this band has a distinct edge lacked by many of their counterparts. Jeremy Mendicino (vocals/guitar), Holden Lewis (vocals/guitar/keyboards), and Roger Lussier (bass/keys/horn) are smart, skilled music school types who manage to avoid the trap of sounding overly calculated, even though their style of indie rock/power pop borders on progressive. Like Field Music, they are masters at crafting a catchy hook out of challenging song structures, and like Enon, they have the willingness to flip a song's direction with offbeat electronics, both of which are exercised for the fantastic "Money Music. There's a lot to wrap your head around and enjoy with Golden Rules for Golden People. It's a grower, and a long cry from a sign that the trio's selling out, even if it doesn't pack the punch of their outings from 2007 and 2008.

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