Pretty Vicious are only in their early twenties but have already been through plenty of highs and lows. An exciting record label bidding war led to an adventure with Virgin EMI…but that was cut short. Then – having signed to Big Machine/John Varvatos Records – the boys came back strong again in 2018.
The resulting ‘Beauty of Youth’ is lit with anthems, its sound big and forceful, drenched in rapturous riffs. Suitably matched by rhythms as good as some of the biggest rock bands, everything here is delivered with consistently raw energy.
Despite frontman Brad Griffiths taking a step back “to deal with ongoing personal issues”, as was recently announced, his contribution is inarguable throughout. But on tracks like the rollicking opener 'These Four Walls’, the melodic ‘Something Worthwhile’, the stomping, arrogant sweetness of ‘Lost in Lust’ and the self-righteous ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’, it stands out even more.
The theme of this record is the excitement and complexity of being young. “My emotions came open, that’s just the way I feel. This ain’t part of my show. This ain’t no encore,” declares Griffiths on the Stereophonics-indebted ‘Playing With Guns’.
The right to set one’s own agenda is dealt with on the hell raising ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’ – a fully charged track with a vibe and vocal delivery reminiscent of AC/DC’s Angus Young – elsewhere, there’s the fulfilling ‘Are You Entertained’, a punchy frenzy of a tune instantly recalling bands such as The Sex Pistols and The Buzzcocks. Again, being young is largely positive: “I have no aspirations, I have no good intensions. Young, free, careless, higher than life. Young, free, reckless, do what I like.”
Another standout is ‘Move’, a hyper-paced, on beat killer track suited to the sweaty, sold out venues Pretty Vicious have become accustomed to playing, whether in New York, London or Tokyo. This could almost have been the band’s second album, but the decision to leave out prior crowd pleasers such as ‘Cave Song’ and ‘National Plastics’ speak to the quality of the chosen material.
‘Beauty of Youth’ has much to offer. How Pretty Vicious progress from here remains to be seen, but whatever happens next - it isn’t going to be boring. This much we do know.
Words: Susan Hansen
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