The Vermont Cynic

Pretty & Nice? (Anything but)


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After lots of press and hype that the former hometown boys were back, Pretty & Nice failed to bring out the local fans on Thursday night at the Monkey House.

The now Boston-based band on Hardly Art, a Sub Pop imprint, pulled out a bag of pop punk in the vein of OK Go and got their fans dancing.

But, for a band that left Burlington for bigger and better things, the fan support was particularly lacking.

And, well, those who didn’t brave the cold didn’t miss a lot.

While the Burlington scene is alive with diversity and originality, lots of lower tiered Boston bands tend to favor radio, MTV-friendly rock.

Although Pretty & Nice was dynamic and had poise, they are quickly falling into the dreaded cookie-cutter land.

In order to break up the monotony, singer and lead guitarist Jeremy Mendicino tries the theatrical approach to get fans’ attention – with a quick wit, an Elvis haircut, tight clothes and a reliance on falsetto, he does not fail.

A “Spin Magazine” friendly band, the scenester kids are not all squeaky voices and twangy guitars.

Akin to the Foo Fighters, the quick talking music men do feature a foot tapping beat and catchy, if unrefined, lyrics. And they make mistakes like the rest of us.

“I’m wearing long underwear; it’s really hot,” vocalist Holden Lewis said. “I’ll keep you updated on the status.” Charming, huh?

Yet, they are also quite the cynical jokesters.

Before one particularly dark song, Mendicino attempted to foreshadow the mood. “This next song makes more sense, if you’re dead,” he said.

After the show, the brainchild and producer of the simply titled band, Mendicino caught up with his parents and reverted back to childish fantasy in a spurt of nostalgia.

“I hatched out of an egg. Holden plucked me out of a burrow, he gave me a name,” Mendicino said.

“Every year, Holden and I take an annual trip to the wilderness without instruments. When we come back, an album is done. Nobody asks any questions,” he said.

“Boston’s like swimming in a cold pool, like falling through the ice,” Mendicino said.

While bandmate Lewis was quick to discredit most of Mendicino’s verbal antics, he reiterated the differences in atmosphere between the two cities.

“In Burlington, we knew people. Boston doesn’t love people,

Lewis said.

“In Boston, there are people who love music – tons of really nice people and a good community, but it is hard to get people to shows,” he said.

“Burlington maxed out for us quickly; Vermont’s cool, but it’s not all that helpful if you’re trying to increase popularity.”

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Pretty & Nice? (Anything but)