Review: Pretendo – ][

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Label: Country Club Records

Released: March 4, 2008

Pretendo play a dark angular pop that revolves around its rhythms, whether that is principally percussion, bass or guitar (or most often the interplay between them), while keyboard or guitar build an unsettling ambiance. The songs vary from the subtley Stones-influenced swagger of “Chronicle a Free Subletting” to the post-punk/dance meld of “Angsti Nervosa” to the Floyd-ish trippiness (and peculiar lyrics) of “Mindy.” They manage to draw a variety of small pieces from across decades into a sound that’s very modern, allowing them to move forward into the future without abandoning the past. Even within a song, they manage to traverse influences. “Smoking Pipe to Dance” has a short guitar solo that starts off bluesy and finds its way into post-punk quickly and seamlessly. The dirge-like “Cynthia” slows the album’s pace with its seedy desperation without derailing its energy. Pretendo realize their potential to push the psychedelic envelope on “Sherman Speaks,” a freakout that Syd Barrett may well have been proud of, and even push a bit over the edge of the album’s tortured closer, “Pong.” Over the course of the album, they shift the musical landscape without shifting their focus, keeping the scenery interesting without losing their way in the process.

Ratings
Satriani: 7/10
Zappa: 7/10
Dylan: 6/10
Aretha: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

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About bobvinyl

bobvinyl, writer and co-editor of No Song is an Island, founded its predecessor, Rock and Roll and Meandering Nonsense (whose archives are found here), in 2005 and served as editor and principal contributor until it went on hiatus in 2010. He has also been published in AMP and Loud Fast Rules! (in print) as well as Glide and FensePost on the web. He has been an avid record collector since he was seven years old and enjoys sharing his love of music from the common to the esoteric.

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