Seemingly out of nowhere, Boston band Pretty and Nice became a perfect example of next generation power pop. Golden Rules for Golden People is an engaging mix of The New Pornographers, Field Music and early XTC. Although it sticks to the alt. rock template on the opener “Stallion & Mare,” the angular guitar riffs like early 80’s poke through. “Mummy Jets” adds a bigger hook and it becomes the best Apples in Stereo track you missed.
The quirky instrumentation give each song an edge that other indie power pop lacks. “New Czar” mixes styles with abandon, but keeps that ear worm intact. The frenetic sped up pop melody of “QQ” is the type of brilliant retro-experimentation that I haven’t heard in ages. The fuzzy production in spots does mar things a little (“Gold Fools”) but with gems like “Yonkers” that buzz by with surf choruses, synths and horns at breakneck speed – you’ll be having too much fun to notice. Its tightly controlled chaos, so you may miss the messages about the shallow joys of being an “instrument” of the rich. I liked the bands last EP Us You All We, but this new album boldly ups the ante.