Prettiest Eyes’ Release Party With Hoover iii, Sister Mantos At The Echo, Sunday November 26th 2017
I can say I have followed Prettiest Eyes’ explosive path since the beginning, and their record release party at the Echo on Sunday night has to be the culmination of their career so far: their new LP, ‘Pools’, was released on Castleface Records, home of John Dwyer’s Thee Oh Sees… where else could their awesome weirdness have landed?
This was an eclectic night of fun with fascinating young performers, and it all started with Hoover iii and their super dynamic brand of rock ‘n’ roll, which brought guitar solos to distortion, synth lines to fury and propelling drums to a new level of madness. Their sound was big and joyful, going from some wonderful enthusiasm for pure rock ‘n’ roll, all head banging and hair whipping, to a powerful psychedelic sonic vortex engulfing everything around. They were a trip in the fuzz with sometimes a layer of krautrock below the roaring guitars and melodies sang by frontman Bert Hoover (who is also playing in Mind Meld and Jesus Sons),… and I guarantee you, like the crowd, you would have asked for more after each tune they played. And may be because Bert Hoover has long blond hair he violently shook during these numerous guitar assaults, they could have sounded as if Ty Segall and Patrick Stickles had a baby, if this can make any sense.
Sister Mantos was a very large band – I counted 8 of them on stage – using everything from guitar, bass, drums, percussions, keys, and plenty of people singing. They basically brought everything in the mix, they were a delectable soup of Latin rhythms and beats, with a large dose of funk and dub, sang in Spanish, with a positive message for ‘Queer and POC’ according to what I have read. They may have sounded like a busy Brazilian carnival, or a buoyant Cumbia remixed by Prince, where Afro-beats blended into a giant psychedelic trip, and it was obviously a great dance party from start to finish. Sister Mantos kept the joy level very high among the crowd, for a great 40-minute set, with in particular a devilish heavy-dub afro-beat number that reminded me about Future Pigeon before a wide-screen interpretation of a few Latin classics.
The first time I saw Prettiest Eyes, it was in the middle of a mini festival, the type of day when you see 20-25 bands in a row, and their out-of-the-pack weirdness immediately jumped at my face. Where did they come from? How this aggressive cowboy bassist could possibly play with a psychedelic synth and a drummer who was singing with high pitch reverb-filled vocals? How did this work? How did they come up with such an act? Their music is throbbing in abrupt angles, there is plenty of aggression, distortion, experimentation, and also dissonance, krautrock and puzzling noises, but their bizarre and fractured songs are as scary as they are hilarious.
The trio (Pachy is on Drums & Vocals, Marcos on Bass and Paco on Keyboards & Electronics) were swimming in their natural element inside the Echo, they were playing in semi-darkness, while Marcos’ stage antics were suddenly revealed by violent and brutal white lights. Prettiest Eyes’s shows are especially good because they are completely unpredictable, mixing industrial terrorizing noise from Paco, punk crowd surfing from Pachy, and mad aggression and crowd moshing from Marcos and his bass he is always holding like a weapon. They played songs from their new album, all odd and interesting, with Paco’s buzzing electronica, Pachy’s steam machine and Marcos’ intense stare, cowboy hat he never leaves, and sexy moves, he is famous for his gyrating hip moves! Sooner than I expected, they brought chaos inside the small club with violent body bumping and an electrifying energy coming from out of space. Of all the bands I know, Prettiest Eyes probably produces the strangest sound out there, but the Puerto Rican-Mexican-via-L.A trio is always fascinating, and their insane stage just materializes their futuristic sound rooting from Los Angeles punk history.