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Me Talk Pretty

Me Talk Pretty have a sexy lead singer, and they clearly want you to know it: while the three guys in the band dress in ordinary dude-wear in the inside cover of the band's debut EP Ana, lead singer Julia Preotu appears in low-cut, hip-hugging jeans, a midriff-baring V-neck shirt, and the world's most taut push-up bra. In another picture we see her jumping in profile, to emphasize her distinctly shapely figure.

No reason to begrudge the band their pandering to the Maxim crowd; it's a tough scene, and a band's gotta do what a band's gotta do to get noticed, so self-commodification is hardly an unforgivable sin. The pleasant thing about Ana is that the band might not need to win hearts with its eye candy when the music is this solid. The seven tracks follow a general formula, but with enough variation to remain consistently engaging. That formula consists of quiet passages amassing strength as they build up to moments of explosive catharsis, before receding back into a pacific calm.

It's been done before, and it will surely be done again, but Me Talk Pretty show real talent, with complicated, prog-inspired passages and a firm grasp on the dynamics of shifting from soft to hard and back again. Bassist Chris Foster trots his nimble fingers across the fretboard with agility, with some surprising and clever upper-register fills on "Save Me" and an effectively Tool-esque intro to closing track "Measures of Silence."

Indeed, that band's imprint is frequently audible on Ana, but Me Talk Pretty rarely sound like bush-league imitators, absorbing that influence into their own sonic template without resorting to outright imitation. A major factor in that equation is Preotu, whose sometimes operatic vocals insure the band a distinct personality. Able to escalate intensity without growing overwrought, Preotu brings more than mere sex appeal with her soaring voice that often strikes a balance between threatening and erotic, a tension bolstered by the band's command of tone. Me Talk Pretty will need to vary their songwriting patterns a bit more to achieve success on a full-length album, but the ingredients are in place here for real success.

-Whit Strub

Track listing:
1. Ilusion
2. Letter
3. In My Arms
4. Moirai
5. Ana
6. Save Me
7. Measures of Silence

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