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  • Jonathan Widran

PRETTY EMBERS, Under

There’s no actual song titled “Under” on Under, the sonically sparkling, edgy yet soothingly soulful full length debut album by Birmingham originated, Nashville based indie rockers Pretty Embers – so we’ll have to conjecture a bit on what that means.


The first thought that comes to mind as you listen to this sometimes painful, often comforting, emotionally wrenching at realistic and always heart-provoking ultimate breakup/reflection collection is, yep, being quickly seduced and put “under the spell” of the trio of Kameron Mitchell (vocals/guitar), Mason Thomas (bass) and Ethan Standard (drums).

Even if it’s been years (or decades) since you last had your heart broken and had to wade through the emotional muck to figure out a way forward, these guys – lifelong friends and longtime musical cohorts who have been called “Death Cab For Cutie for the South” - will put you right back in the midst of your painful memories, hopefully now with a splash of wisdom for future endeavors.


To prepare us mentally and spiritually for the full journey – a proverbial rollercoaster that is sometimes simmering and laid back yet often fiery and for sure always ready for that next dramatic distorted guitar explosion, the trio unleashed as its debut single the intense, rumbling and hypnotic “Inside,” whose lyrics are delivered so quickly and are so deeply wrapped in the mix that we might miss the harsh truths that Mitchell is trying to convey: “I can’t seem to get off my ass and be the man I know I could be. . .I know I should probably change.”


The band seems to be working hard on those changes, or at least more deeply considering them, during the lengthy, electric guitar and atmosphere driven outro. The mood swing are pretty wild, from the gritty mid-tempo, angrily expressed “For You” and the prickly, defiant and self-deceptive “I Don’t Need You” through the bluesy and mournful, soft-spoken acoustic ballad “In A Few Weeks” (which showcases Mitchell’s sweet falsetto), the sultry, easy grooving a-ha breakthrough “Realize” and the lilting, ambient heartbreaker “Daydreams.” Seriously, true to the album title, these guys will take you deep, so prepare for some heavy digging under whatever façade you’ve got going as you immerse in this dazzling debut.