Pretty/Normal is a pretty great young emo band out of Salem, Massachusetts. What started out as a songwriting partnership between friends Mat Morin and Aviv Moratz, but eventually expanded into a full band in an attempt to augment the chemistry of their performances, and now includes members Kayla Morin and Quinn Murphy.
As far as emo goes, the band’s sound is on the louder side, with a spacy quality that sets them to orbit in an adjacent galaxy to the one that Hum circulates in. You can trace the lineage of the band’s sound from the post-hardcore of the late ’90s to the current resurgence of big guitar-hook heaving, heart-string plucking, and tear-jerking rock of the underground. From Rival Schools to Spielbergs, with a pit stop at Silversun Pickups along the way.
Pretty/Normal have released a string of solid singles and EPs over the years, but their self-titled EP that dropped this past Friday is the first real outing of the full, current lineup, and does it ever deliver! The EP begins with “Tonguska Events” a shimmering rocker, with a sling-shot hook guiding the chorus around explosive, reverb heated tremolos and asteroid dicing beats. “Panic Disorderly Coveralls” begins riding a wavey, singular guitar line before being kicked into the cold, ravishing clutches and hard truths of a groove that is as beleaguered and torn as a ship capsized at sea. There is a sharp, big romantic quality to the guitars on “Koresh Fans” that take flight and cascade ferocious way, like they are trying to bring down the walls of a stadium that some monster rocker like U2 is scheduled to play later in the afternoon. “Observations From The Kitchen Floor” spills its guts with a growling surge of guitars, intercut with spacey chords between choruses, minor relief spaces in which to rest before the tug of the track’s internal tensions pulls you back into a paint-stripping tornado of emotions. The EP then winds down with the pleasantly combustible “Self-Harm Career Opportunities” with its twisty guitars that spark and hiss like a lit fuse and the balmy quality of vocal melodies which soothe your burns between blow-ups.
Pretty/Normal are actually, fairly exceptional and it’s awesome to hear the band come together so beautifully on their self-titled EP. They’ve just signed to No Sleep Records so hopefully that means a full LP coming our way soon! One can only hope!
You can stream the entirety of Pretty/Normal self-titled EP below: