A review published in The Weekend Australian in February 2015.
Pearls – Pretend You’re Mine
The best moment of Pretend You’re Mine is a lead guitar break that appears towards the end of track seven, ‘Baby’. It’s an extraordinary 30-second passage that breaks the song wide open, changing keys while also providing crystal-clear context to what this Melbourne-based trio attempts to achieve on its debut album.
Pearls trades in glam rock, according to publicity materials accrued since forming in 2011, yet that loaded term arrives with significant baggage attached and should be shelved in favour of keeping a few distinctive traits in mind: shared male-female vocals, uniformly sharp songwriting and a refined aesthetic best exemplified by the album cover, which features two-thirds of the band in soft focus beneath artful fonts.
Pretend You’re Mine is a self-assured collection. The aforementioned ‘Baby’ is an instant classic pop song built around clattering percussion, lock-step guitars, lovestruck vocals and a few root keyboard chords that burble away, low in the mix. It’s breathtaking in its simplicity and efficacy and, like all great music, it belies the difficulties of the craft itself.
Elsewhere, ‘Dirty Water’ is stalked by an unhinged, distorted lead guitar tone that’s indebted to a generation of shoegaze practitioners, and opener ‘Big Shot’ pivots on a strutting bassline and menacing gang vocals that mimic the guitar melody. It all ends with the propulsive title track, which slowly fades out and begs for the entire experience to be repeated. Debut albums as great as Pretend You’re Mine are rare; they deserve to be applauded and savoured.
LABEL: Dot Dash/Remote Control
RATING: 4.5 stars