Melbourne’s Papa vs Pretty used to rock pretty hard. Their debut was a triumphant mix of storytelling and grunge delicacies. United in Isolation was the underground Frogstomp or Innerspeaker – it brought Australian music out of a lull and propelled Papa vs Pretty to enormous stages and heaving cult followings. Progress is perhaps the correct word to use in this context. Lead vocalist and guitarist Tom Rawle continues his exquisite song writing, yet the band employ a new member Luke Liang, to incorporate a more synth-heavy and in parts, soft rock element.
It’s not to say that Papa vs Pretty have entirely restructured their beefy grunge rock, they have perhaps further progressed it. First single to come off the group’s second album, White Deer Park, is the crescendo-laden My Life is Yours. While the song tells a heart-breaking story of life and regret, you’ll be able to find piano lines, strings and Tom’s vocals soaring higher than ever. The track is immediately proceeded by Rain Check which has to be the most straight-forward rock track on the record.
White Deer Park shares similarities with Montreal’s Arcade Fire, specifically their record The Suburbs. Besides the obvious song name similarities – see Suburban Joan of Arc – each song has a different presence and emotion to capture. The Suburbs told a story of freedom, escape and isolation where each track had a perfect build and drop. Papa vs Pretty meanwhile mimic the effect where the second half of White Deer Park ebbs and flows perfectly and tries to attain a more personal affair with the listener. While To Do proves to be the highlight, the latter half of the record shows the band’s progress a darker side to their melodies and song writing.