Pretty Girls Make Graves - Good Health

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2002-05-06

A welcome reissue of this Seattle band's LookoutRecords debut, Good Health captures Pretty Girls Make Graves before their music took on the pseudy, slightly muddled edge that made 2003's The New Romancea minor disappointment. Balanced neatly on the precipice between purge-and-vent emotion and post-hardcore complexity, PGMG ride a similar dynamic to Washington DC's Fugazi, forever ricocheting between moments of passionate excess and stoic experimentation, but always pulling back from the brink of each extreme.

The album peaks early - well, immediately, if we're honest - with the fantastic "Speakers Push The Air", a pleasingly straightforward hymn to the life-altering properties of rock music, pouting lead singer Andrea Zollo hurling the words "And nothing else matters when I turn it up loud!" with sheer adolescent joy. There's much good besides, though: "3 Away" imagines Bikini Kill if they had the chops to match the polemic, while "The Getaway" - the tale of a teenage runaway - adds a tender edge to Pretty Girls' rather hard visage. Even if you were turned off by the follow-up, Good Health is well worth picking up. --Louis Pattison

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