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Pretty Girls Make Graves Elan Vital

So I'm sat here looking at a picture of an ice cream. It is in fact the cover of the latest album from Pretty Girls Make Graves a band from Seattle whose previous work I am not familiar with.

This is the third album from the group in just as many years, and I have been informed that this new release is somewhat of a departure from their debut album 'Good Health' which was released back in 2002. The band have been busy since then, the most significant events in recent history saw the arrival of new keyboardist Leona Mars who has obviously had an impact on the overall sound of the new album, which has fallen under a number of sub-genres from emo-disco to art punk.

Having spent the past year road testing their new material on various audiences, PGMG have been support to major acts such as Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party, however I'm not convinced that Elan Vital makes them worthy as headliners.

After a good few listens to this album the final impression that I was left with was that this is a more sedated version of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the same quirky offbeat style but without the spark or explosion of energy we see in the latter.

The production on Elan Vital is faultless; each instrumental is so clear and so sharply defined resulting in a finely tuned collection of minimalist tracks. The band have certainly attempted to experiment in the instrumental sense, right from the screeching whistles on opening track 'The Nocturnal House' to the accordion accompanied Parisian sounding 'Selling the Wind'. There is certainly a sense of diversity on this album.

Whilst the more synth-rock tracks such as 'Pyrite Pedestal' and 'Domino' echo the sounds of Indie bands of the 1980s, the majority of the songs on here just sound a little too bare, they lack any passion or determination. I have a resounding feeling that PGMG have abandoned their previous work to become one of those 'We're going to be clever and arty' groups. Whether I'm right or not, this ice cream covered album fails to hit the spot, and ultimately I ended up with brain-freeze.