At the end of last week Pretty Vicious finally released an EP. Not only featuring new material, but also an old favourite too. The title track ‘Cave Song’ was the first I ever heard of the band, and I had since wished it would be released to download (I only have limited data to listen to music with when I’m out and about). Finally it is here, and surrounded by the brilliant accompaniment of ‘Down My Way’, ‘Ambien’ and ‘Black And Blue’. Whilst ‘Cave Song’ is classic Pretty Vicious; thumping drumbeats, tortured vocals and thundering guitars, the rest of the EP hints at other aspects to the band’s musical repertoire, evidence that they have more than just a top gear.
‘Cave Song’ is a reassuring familiarity, among the new music you can still recognise the old riffs of Brad and Thomas’ guitars straight away, and, this time accompanied by a new video which mirrors the meaning of the song about dossing about on street corners, the song seems to encompass even more power. ‘Cave Song’ is Pretty Vicious. It has everything you expect of them and everything you want from them and I can only imagine it must be spectacular live.
Second track, ‘Down My Way’ features a subdued manner to begin with, Brad Griffiths seems less at the edge of what his voice can do, revealing emotion slowly, rather than in a sudden cathartic burst. Hearing the first few bars, it is easy to assume that Pretty Vicious will be content to sit back on this song and let it lurk at the bottom end of their catalogue for when they need a break during their energetic live show. But no, they haven’t gone soft altogether, and the features we are used to return, as the quickening bass forewarns of change. As is usual, the vigorous drum fills of Elliot (who is even younger than the rest of the band) are key in maintaining the breakneck speed which defines this band’s music. As the rest of the band push forward however, Brad is content to sit back on the vocals, allowing for a brilliant contrast. ‘Down My Way’ is the most varied of the EP’s songs and shows off to any doubters (usually middle aged men in the Youtube comments section) what Pretty Vicious can do.
The penultimate track is called ‘Ambien’ and begins with sinister guitars in a prolonged crescendo, backed by the ratatat of the snare drum. We then launch into guitar melodies more reminiscent of early Arctic Monkeys when they were more youthful and raw. The vocals are more restrained than usual, with just the infrequent hints of the vast energy obtainable, in a more tonal performance than we have seen before. ‘Ambien’ is a song to excite the audience, break up the constant wall of sound and provide a more diverse display of talent.
The finale; ‘Black And Blue’ is full of pent-up aggression and angst from the start; it is clear that the vocals will not stay in such a subdued manner for long. Sure enough, the song erupts throughout into a more distressed form as the potential energy of the intro is converted into an explosion of sound. A false ending sets up the solo, keeping the song alive for just a minute more of amazing rock music. You can’t escape a single song without a bit of a battering.
Cave Song – EP spells a new and exciting direction for Pretty Vicious and I’m sure they are now in a strong enough position to release an album, and I can’t wait to hear it.
With a live performance such as Pretty Vicious’, you would be a fool to not go see them on their recently announced UK tour:
SEPTEMBER 2nd – SWANSEA, SINGLETON PARK
SEPTEMBER 4th – CAMBRIDGE, LODESTAR FESTIVAL
SEPTEMBER 10th – ISLE OF WIGHT, BESTIVAL
SEPTEMBER 17th – CARDIFF, THE GLOBE
SEPTEMBER 19th – GLASGOW, KING TUT’S
SEPTEMBER 20th – NEWCASTLE, THINK TANK
SEPTEMBER 21st – LEEDS, BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB
SEPTEMBER 23rd – MANCHESTER, SOUND CONTROL
SEPTEMBER 24th – GLOUCESTER, UNDERGROUND FESTIVAL
SEPTEMBER 26th – NOTTINGHAM, BODEGA
SEPTEMBER 27th – BIRMINGHAM, ACADEMY 3
SEPTEMBER 28th – LONDON, HEAVEN
Tickets go on sale Friday at 9AM.