The festive season is a good time to make plans for the future. New year – new you and all that. My resolution is definitely to write more reviews because if I continue at this rate Rita may send me to The Good Place in exchange for Chidi Anagonye. That’s how crippling my indecisiveness can be. Having a major in philosophy does not really help, but you can only admire my phenomenal use of wit if you see the show.
So yes, more reviews. 2020 has just ended yet new music keeps on being released at impossible speed and in ways that would be unfathomable twelve months before. Surprise albums dropped in the middle of the night, two LPs within six weeks or even home recorded covers uploaded straight to YouTube won`t surprise anyone in the year that gave us pandemic, Brexit deal and people agreeing with Pierce Morgan. It’s a freak show galore, permanent Halloween and music reflects that perfectly.
In a way the chaos of 2020 is brilliantly captured in Pretty Vile`s unexpected release of “Think of You”. This Coventry based duo took on Bleached`s most cherished love song and turned it into an anthem of fury, howls and humour. Kit Eaton-Kent and Erin West (I may be wrong but something tells me both are still in their teens) don’t mess about. I have seen them several times live around Birmingham and they are carnage reincarnated in a proper sense of the word. Their version of “Think of You” retains a lot of how the band presents themselves on stage: they play fast with no regards to melody lines, occasionally being out of tune and missing chords. But they pack a punch, have a hell of a lot of fun and sing for their lives.
The visuals to the song is also fitting. Forget about fancy bars and hipster locations visited by Bleached on the original video. Pretty Vile run amok in the badly lit streets god knows where, drinking straight from the bottles and showing middle fingers to a mobile phone. It is tongue in cheek, DIY video proudly made with no budget but somehow it feels real and authentic. Youth messing about and playing music for the sake of it. Apparently it`s still possible. Somebody tell that to The Lathums.
Pretty Vile are Birmingham`s own enfants terribles playing modernized oi punk with influences from street, anarchy and garage subgenres. With some neat guitar tricks and harmonies borrowed from more radio friendly musical styles such as riot grrrl and alternative/college rock, they carve themselves a name and a reputation.
What else can I say? Forty years on, punks (still) not dead.