dearly beloved – the pretty things

I’m having a pretty things binge just now, gorging myself on everything I have by them, from the mid-60s’ r&b, their late 60s’/early 70s’ psychedelia, through their 70s’ ‘swan song’ period, right up to ‘Balboa Island’.
Apparently, if one takes the sleeve notes as gospel, the band went through a massive, shuddering convulsion on the road to recording this. And what a record it is!
I don’t think it sounds like anything else I own – although phil may’s voice and delivery, if reminiscent of anything, harks back to roger daltry around 1970.
I’ve been blasting this more than daily for the last week and it’s still growing on me.
It’s a blues-based LP. There’s not even much point in singling out individual songs – the whole album has the feel of one of lou reed’s enormous song cycles. There’s soft bits (‘dearly beloved’) as well as thrashy bits (‘buried alive’) and a few pop nuggets (‘pretty beat’, ‘the beat goes on’)
A lot of people don’t rate ‘silk torpedo’ (and the pretties played nothing from that era when I saw them a couple of years back in glasgow) but this is cut from vaugely the same cloth as that.
The pretty things are not spring chickens and haven’t been for a while, but in these days of boil-in-the-bag boy bands and manufactured cover-version-spewing-machines, it’s fucking great to stumble on a fucking good LP by a band at the peak of their powers.


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