COME CLOSER: Pretty Garbage: LP

Jul 20, 2021

The brainchild of J Wang (who’s done time in Dan Padilla, Tiltwheel, and Shallow Cuts, among a host of others), Come Closer shows the guy forging some pretty impressive new territory here. It’s an album moored in the melancholy bedrock of early-’80s alternative rock, way more than any of his previous efforts—Pretty Garbage reminding me very much of the Psychedelic Furs, if they’d fully embraced punk. I know! Wild, right? Wang’s signature vocals seem to be run through some minor effects here, and layered over solid, almost dream-pop guitarwork, and a rhythm section that include members of Tiltwheel and Pinback. That makes it sound potentially wimpy, and it’s absolutely not—but there’s… nuance here that I’m not used to with Wang’s other bands. Pretty Garbage is pretty fucking impressive. It still packs a punch, but there’s a mournfulness here, and a self-awareness, that carries significant weight. Pirates Press—an admittedly surprising label for such an outfit—comes through with absolutely gorgeous vinyl and packaging, as well as a handwritten zine about the writing and recording process. Fits solidly in the Razorcake aesthetic—while still forging something new and refreshing—and shows without a doubt that Wang is a consummate songwriter. Definitely recommended. –Keith Rosson (Pirates Press)

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