Ok. The Guru. Alright. I think I’m going to have to take off my bitter, old, punk reviewer hat for this one. I guess the first thing to mention is that The Guru are a pop band first and foremost. A pop band who draws influence from a wide selection of music. Among those influences are funk, disco, jazz, and r&b. Not too much from any single genre, but enough to be noticeable. The guitar can get a bit jangly, but not enough to sound like college rock. It is music that is more based in finding, and sticking to, a groove. To quote that one guy on on American Bandstand that time, “it has a beat and you can dance to it.” A lot of it does seem to be filtered through some indie rock charcoal tough. It’s kind of a less punk version of The Front Bottoms?
Musically, there is a lot going on here that is really worth noting. There is very intricate guitar work to be had here. It can get a little noodley in places, but not overwhelmingly so. And, unlike most modern pop with guitars, most of the hooks that stuck out to me were coming from the vocals. Eddie Golden III has a very distinct voice, and is able to express a lot just through that. In fact, the strength of his vocal performance isn’t even the strongest contribution to the record. His drumming, along with Adam Straus’ bass, really hold it down. They are a rhythm section that isn’t fucking around. Totally the star of the show, musically anyway. But that is not surprising, considering the funk influence.
My only real concern is that, save for “Buoy-U” and “Rejected Nunkie,” a lot of Pretty Things is kind of homogeneous. All the songs have a kind of sameness that kind of bums me out. A lot of that is a personal preference/ignorance though. But, in the end, maybe I’m not the guy to really critique a record with a disco song on it.
I know this wasn’t the most enthusiastic review I’ve ever written. I’m really not sure what the shelf life of this record is for me. That doesn’t matter though. It is definitely a fun, summer record. Check it out. It’s definitely worth a listen.
BandCamp / Buy It (digital release)