fri 08/12/2023

CD: The Pretty Things - The Sweet Pretty Things (Are In Bed Now, of Course) | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The Pretty Things - The Sweet Pretty Things (Are In Bed Now, of Course)

CD: The Pretty Things - The Sweet Pretty Things (Are In Bed Now, of Course)

Phil May and co find a new lease of life and rich vein of form

The Pretty Things prove that going to bed doesn't mean the end of the night

Vintage is word I’m not comfortable with. I make it a point of principle not to pay a 3000% mark-up on clothes someone’s already worn, and when it comes to wine, I’m more likely to shop by ABV in truth. Vintage is however, a word at the heart of The Sweet Pretty Things (Are in Bed Now, of Course . . . ), the new album by R’n’B upstarts-turned-psychedelic story tellers The Pretty Things.

Recording on vintage, analogue equipment in a "let’s do the show right here"  flurry of activity, the band – a going concern since 1963 – are certainly capable of producing the goods, but, going in, I'm unsure exactly what to expect and slightly trepidatious.

Any doubts soon evaporate with the opening chords of “The Same Sun”, which harks back to SF Sorrow-era Things, while “And I Do” has a wonderful, crunching late-Sixties swing that hangs on by its hinges even when everything gets dangerously loose. These are songs with the original maker’s mark clearly stamped on them. Two cover versions sit amid the originals and both are well chosen and fondly delivered – The Byrds’ “Renaissance Fair” and a full, muscular version of The Seeds’ “You Took Me By Surprise”. The latter, in particular, reminds us that there are few sounds better than a band really enjoying themselves. They also pull the dust cover off the never-before-recorded psych pop of “Turn My Head”, while instrumentals “Greenwood Tree” and the smoky, scented drift of “In the Soukh” lead us into deeper territory as drums and bass take centre stage with confidence.

This line-up, original members Phil May and Dick Taylor with Frank Holland and new kids George Woosey (bass) and Jack Greenwood (drums) have delivered an album that sounds both classic and vital. Vintage perhaps, but bristling with energy and conviction. You might want to consider that achievement alongside the fact that the Rolling Stones have failed to deliver a decent record for 37 years. The Pretty Things, meanwhile, have found a new lease of life and rich vein of form.

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