I know nothing about Pretty Beast. Other than the fact they are from Dublin and one of them looks a little like Chris Hemsworth, they’re an enigma to me. A smidge of Facebook snooping and I discovered that they’re pretty new to everyone else, too. They’ve just started this year, recently finished their EP and are planning a big launch in the Workman’s Club on June 26th.
I pressed play on their EP, Content, with absolutely no expectations. The first track, “Raid”, hit me like a punch. It goes hard, mixing aggressive instrumentation with good synths, something that’s been lacking in heavy Irish music. The mix is a little off in places, with the lead riff in the chorus overpowering the vocals and the kick drum not being as bassy as it could be, leaving it slightly limp.
The strongest intro of the EP is on the second track, “Born”. It opens with something that could fit in very well on an Enter Shikari album. Powerful and dominant, it gives way to a lacklustre verse, a real disappointment. The cowbell is a nice addition though, a feature that hasn’t been used well since LCD Soundsystem. The pre-chorus picks up again, but the vocals in the following chorus are a bit strained, too weak for the surrounding music. For a song that opens so well with synths, they fall to the wayside for the rest of the track. I had hopes for an aggressive synth-led track, and instead was met with a song saturated with generic vocal filters.
“So Cold”, the current single, is a nice dancey track. The drum beat is something that could easily be pogo-ed or fist pumped along to. The dirty guitars are nice and crunchy, matching those drums perfectly. Again, the mix is a little disappointing. When the hi-hats are switched out for cymbals, the difference is barely noticeable, when it should be adding far more energy. In the chorus, there’s something unsettling about the vocals again. A little too high, a little too whiny for the general tone of the song. The simple kick-snare-kick-snare drum beat gets a little tiring once the second chorus comes around. The song ends nicely however, with a nice guitar riff, simple drums and a pounding bass note.
Closing on “Trying It”, again we have the repetitive kick-snare-kick-snare drum beat running throughout. The song itself is quite repetitive, but just enough to zone out and dance to. The backing vocals are lost in the mix, with the overbearing bass crunching along over everything. A fine song – but not a great song.
Live, I feel like Pretty Beast are going to be incredible. Their EP launch will probably blow those in the crowd away, these are great live songs. The energy though is somewhat lost once it translates to record. These guys are like an Enter Shikari for Arctic Monkeys fans. They could go in hard, but pull their punches a little too much.