|Pretoria continues its rise with 2019’s smart indie-surf EP, Cape Town.|
Believe it or not, the Pretoria bandmates first started jamming to grunge music. You wouldn’t know it from their new EP.
On Cape Town, the sophomore follow-up to 2018’s Pretoria, the band’s sound has been honed to a clean indie-surf vibe. It’s a further refined version of the style that last year established the group as one of Michigan’s rising indie rock bands.
Pretoria initially gained traction through a series of several live shows held at Western Michigan venues, which were amplified by a fair bit of local radio airplay in the wake of the first EP. Cape Town takes the best parts of last year’s success and elevates them to new heights.
Lead track “Cody Maverick” encapsulates that perfectly. Steady eighth-note-driven guitar licks groove with Beach-Boys-like melodies, energized by Ben Dewitt’s apt drum work. “You’ve got something to hold onto,” croons lead singer Rob Gullet in the pre-chorus – and it’s clear the band does.
Second song “Laundry” showcases the band’s range, with tongue-in-cheek lyrics (“Cast me out like the dirty laundry you’ve thrown behind your door”) playing over sounds that traverse the gamut from shimmering sustained chords to head-bobbing breakdowns before ending in haunting vocal “oohs.”
“Don’t Forget Me” is proof that the band can make acoustic-guitar driven ballads work, too. The track’s an honest ode to the difficulties of today’s modern, text-message-relationships that rests on the strengths of an earnest vocal performance.
EP-closer “You Can’t Explain It” finds the band back to the smart guitar rock they’re founded on, with more surf-inspired guitar licks over catchy vocal lines.
At its core, Cape Town is nothing more or less than smart indie-pop. It’s founded on hand-clapping surf rock layered over sought-after indie charm that shows off the band’s newly revitalized presence and persona.
Last year left fans waiting for more – the standing question was what would come next. Cape Town is Pretoria’s answer.
Check out the EP here.