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PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES:: Elan Vital (Album Review)

Now that everyone and their mom is messing around with variations on post-punk revivalism, Seattle sluggers Pretty Girls Make Graves have done a complete overhaul of the emo-warped herky-jerky assault they perfected on 03’s The New Romance. Co-produced with Colin Stewart (Black Mountain), the disc opens with Andrea Zollo yelping reggae-inspired melodies over a melodica- and whistle-bolstered call to arms, then sails through bouncy singalong synth-pop strike anthems, accordion-driven ditties with Homeric lyrics and even a couple of skank-friendly cuts. It’s not till track 10, Pictures Of A Night Scene, that PGMG return to the jittery, over-caffeinated punk urgency of The New Romance. Amazingly, though Elan Vital easily could’ve become their resounding Sandinista flop, Zollo’s clean vocals, knife-sharp melodies and subtle politically charged songwriting help secure its nomination as Pretty Girls’ London Calling. Awesome. (Sarah Liss)