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
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
3. In My Arms
6. Save Me
7. Measures of Silence
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