Top positive review
35 people found this helpful
Exactly why this album remains a cult.
on 11 March 2003
The Pretty Things. What a dreadful, career-in-the-dumper name for a group. Even shortened (the "Pretties", anyone?) it's a nonsense. I know it's ironic, but it's also terrible.
The album cover. One of the worst sixth-form paste-and-scissors photomontage crimes ever committed in the name of "art".
So; rubbish name, rubbish cover. And yes, these things matter. So does kicking off the album with a "challenging" (ie dissonant, dreary) opening track. Anyone unfamiliar with this wonderful album is most likely not going to get past these three hurdles. Tough on them, and tough on the "Things", too, because it is one of the few albums that define rock music, as opposed to pop, or whatever, as an art form in itself. Don't sneer. This is art. This is beautiful, and this is timeless. It also sounds fantastic. If it was released today, by some bunch of unknowns, it would effortlessly go to number one. No question. Ther's nothing dated or embarrassing about a single note of it; you don't have to excuse anything. What you won't find; humour, singalong nursery-rhymes, boogie, timewasting. What you will find; the best harmony singing ever recorded by a British band (hearing people SING is just such a treat, isn't it? As opposed to people who think they can?), the best ensemble playing ever recorded by a British band (yes, there are great guitar solos, but this isn't an exercise in nostril-hair guitar histrionics, and everybody's listening to everybody else), and quite possibly, the best rock album ever recorded. There are others as great (Dark Side of the Moon, f'rinstance, and maybe the first Mighty Baby album, and -add your favourite here-) but it really doesn't get any better than this. There's music here so beautiful, so deep, so strong, so subtle ... ahhh ... I'm going to shut up. Really, for once, the cult is right, and what people say about this album has a real basis in the groove. Get this before you get SF Sorrow, if you have nothing yet. Then get their last album (Rage ...). These guys are, incredibly, still out there and still making fine music.
Look at it this way. It's a few quid you'd spend without noticing it somewhere else. Help get this album to number one in the charts, because it deserves the view. What it doesn't deserve is to remain a cult pleasure.