Hailing from Brighton and taking their title from the Arctic Monkeys‘ song of the same name, The Pretty Visitors are Connor Reid (vocals), Aaron Evans (guitar), Sam Bennett (bass) and Jack Rudland (drums). They’ve supported bands of the calibre of Circa Waves, and have headlined their own sold out shows at The Joiners, Southampton, and Portsmouth’s The Wedgewood Rooms.
Head In The Sand is the band’s second single release, following on from the critically well received Mystery Woman, a gently swirling melodic, Vervesque, proto-anthem of a tune. If you’re expecting something in the same vein with Head In The Sand, well, think again.
The track starts with a proper post-punk pounding drum beat. My first thoughts were Devo – Whip It. Then the urgent guitars kick-in and we move into racier Joy Division territory. The vocals enter and there’s another sonic surprise. Connor Reid delivers his angsty diatribe against the 9 to 5 rat-race that is the song’s raison d’etre in a snappy, fast-paced sprechgesang style. Imagine Joy Division with Mike Skinner replacing Ian Curtis. It works brilliantly. The mono-ranged vocals mirror perfectly the monotonous sameness of a daily grind that contains no highs, no lows.
The theme of the song is the pointless drudgery of everyday working life, be it the tedious ‘shitty cereal bar’ for breakfast, the dull ‘must be done by 5 file’ or more chillingly – workers willing to ‘Slit your neck with a fountain pen for a £500 pay rise’. Sam from the band outlined the theme of the song to me, ‘work…in the sense of waking up and living every day in a never ending cycle, repeating the process and all for what reason and to what end?’. Lyrically this is a moody tune.
One of the things that impresses me most about this track is the bands clever use of percussion. The relentless beat emphasizes the never-changing work process. When you hear the quick-paced, gentle maracas mid-way through the song, it’s almost like you can feel the sand in your own hour-glass slipping quickly away.
Head In The Sand is out on all the usual platforms from Friday 20th November. Give your day some purpose and give it a listen.