Pretty Girls Make Graves The New Romance

After releasing their debut album, Good Health, on Lookout! in 2002, Seattle-based Pretty Girls Make Graves signed with Matador earlier this year to release their second record. The band’s guitarist Nathan Thelen admits, "It seemed like a way better fit for us and we were all very stoked when they approached us.” Produced by Phil Ek (Modest Mouse, Built To Spill), The New Romance might seem like another Morrissey reference (the band’s name is taken from a song by the Smiths), but there is very little in common. Thelen even confesses, "We’re not really fans of the band.” With the quintet’s high-energy, angular punk mixing in more of a melodic bite, The New Romance surpasses their debut as a more settled and complete record. "We talked through the songs more and tried to find a good atmosphere, a good mood for them,” he says. Andrea Zollo has taken over as the sole vocalist, leaving the duelling boy/girl vocals from Good Health at a bare minimum. Thelen feels this exclusion made other components stronger: "Even though we all collectively sing less, we worked together way more, not just on vocals but on the structures of the songs.” A major step forward for the band, The New Romance is an album that has given the band a chance to plan and release an album that is finely polished. "On the actual sound quality of the record, it’s made of wood, as opposed to Good Health, which was recorded at a studio most composed of marble. It has a warmer feel to it,” explains Thelen, adding, "We also spent a month working on it, whereas last time we recorded in six days.” (Matador)