Pretty Vicious – ‘It’s Always There’: Feral Arctic Monkeys

Pretty vicious. What else can be said?Image courtesy of Pretty Vicious' Facebook page. Photo taken by Rebecca Thomas.

Pretty Vicious’ newest single ‘It’s Always There’ (which is currently spinning as BBC Radio 1’s Hottest Record of the week) is a…well, pretty vicious blast of alt-rock sounds.

It opens with feedback and a runaway bassline, which is always a fantastic tell of things to come. Expectedly, we’ve got a frenzy of furious guitars on the horizon and some fierce vocals that give off an odd Alex Turner vibe. Unsurprising, really, that the band have drawn Arctic Monkeys comparisons. But Pretty Vicious tread the type of intensity that Brianstorm could only dream of.

With this spirited intensity, it’s very easy for songs to lose steam in places. Yet here we are, on the fourth listen to the track without finding a moment that feels weak. The intensity lets up a tiny bit towards the end of the track for the guitar solo (yeah, this track actually has one of those. Turns out they’re not completely dead), but this works magnificently in the overall context of the song. It’s a moment of light relief, still full of musical tension, before the drums roll us back into the onslaught.

Ultimately, that’s what this song is. It’s a brutal onslaught of alternative angst that is horribly under-represented in modern pop rock (seriously, who else is there really? Catfish & The Bottlemen…?), which makes it all the sweeter that this is BBC 1’s Hottest Record of the week.

It’s nothing spectacularly new or different, and fans of the 90’s punk scene will find it refreshingly easy to swallow. After all, it’s just loyal to the time-tested punk mentality of “if you’re going to fuck the mainstream, then fuck it hard, fast and passionately“. So why does it matter? Because it’s breaking into the mainstream radio, during a highly coveted slot.

Hopefully time will be kind to Pretty Vicious, and the energetic backlash against the gently beating boredom at the heart of modern guitar pop can begin. Maybe we could even have a renaissance of the lost art of (non-indulgent) guitar solos?!?

You can listen to the track here.


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