The Preatures: Walking on sunshine with blue planet eyes
With singer Izzi Manfredi’s leather-jacketed, self-assured, coolly disaffected update on the classic Debbie Harry or Chrissie Hynde stance and the band’s percolating rhythms charting a tuneful course somewhere between Motown, New Wave, and electronic dance music, the Preatures made a strong impression at SXSW 2014. Yes, the buzz bands of March sometimes disappoint by the time a full-length debut arrives in October. But working with producer Jim Eno of Spoon, the Sydney quintet has crafted the most irresistible album in this vein since Katrina and the Waves, rising above a bevvy of obvious influences to take the sound in new directions via the subtle use of electronics.
Pinpointing those influences has been a theme of most of the reviews the band has garnered so far, almost all positive. But charting the ingredients recipe-style shorts the strength of the finished dish; it’s the songwriting and the sound as a whole that sucks you in and keeps you coming back. The absolutely exuberant “Cruel” and “It Gets Better,” the slyly seductive title track, the fonky-in-a-good-way “Somebody’s Talking” and “Is This How You Feel”—heck, every one of the 10 tunes on this exquistely short and sweet 34-minute debut—not only stand on their own but combine for one of the most impressive introductory bows in recent memory.
The Preatures, Blue Planet Eyes (Harvest Records)
Rating on the 4-star scale: 3.5 stars