Dance dance resolution
Since Pretty Girls Make Graves emerged in the thick of the recent post-punk revival—angular guitars and all—they would’ve been
forgiven for packing it in or revamping once the genre’s popularity waned yet again. But on the band’s third album, Élan Vital
, it makes a natural progression from the sketchy art-core of its earliest records to something like 21st-century fusion. The album takes some weird chances: pairing muted speed-metal guitars and accordion on “Selling The Wind”; marching bands and New Wave on “Pyrite Pedestal”; and funk, prog and the sound of housecats in heat on “The Magic Hour.” Not all the pieces ?t, but lead singer Andrea Zollo’s innate sense of pop and theater holds it together, while the addition of keyboardist Leona Marrs adds variety and a lighter touch. Élan Vital
has a catchy, beat-happy center, but it also transcends genre on songs like “Parade,” which makes worker unrest sound like a jaunty stroll in the park.