Toronto Punks PRETTYBOY Showcase Their Range on Dual EPs 'BECKY' and 'DARLENE'
Published Jun 18, 2021Somewhere sonically between Pissed Jeans and the Coathangers lies Toronto-based punks PRETTYBOY, who showcase their full range on dual EPs BECKY and DARLENE. Each release represents a different sonic facet of the band, spanning the gamut of punk music. While covering topics about misogyny, consent, personal growth and the plight of toxic relationships, BECKY and DARLENE are full of anthemic and melodic moments throughout while simultaneously questioning the patriarchy.
BECKY is full of adolescent tales re-contextualized through a reflective adult lens. It serves as the poppier, more-garage punk-leaning release, coloured in nostalgia for the days of adolescence. Vocalist Kirsten White recalls the likes of Matt Korvette by employing a wide range of voices to breathe life into the many characters she embodies on the record, from the tales of sexual liberation on "OICA" to analyzing toxic relationships on "Goldie." BECKY's peak is the Armed-influenced "Tony Danza," featuring a hypnotic guitar pattern and an assault of snare fills.
On the darker and more sinister DARLENE, the band turn up the grimy tones and lean more into their hardcore and dissonant influences. White's raspy vocals channel her unfiltered rage towards societal norms and sexual assault through songs like "Eat My Feelings" and "Paid Drinks." The line "It's my attire, attracting you closer and closer, as you're breathing down my neck" is both chilling and evocative. Guitarist Joni Cassidy really shines on this EP — her riffs on "Cut Tongues" sound like Kyuss masquerading as a hardcore band.
PRETTYBOY's two EPs function as a perfect call and response to each other. The way these releases continually revisit narratives requires multiple listens to get all of the band's hidden meanings. The stories that PRETTYBOY tell on BECKY and DARLENE push the anti-establishment ethos of classic punk into bold terrain. (Must Be Nice)