"Passionate, urgent, and ultimately entertaining, this album is bound to sound great decades from now"
- BabySue.com USA
"I have been wowed by local artists turning out works of impeccable quality and
Melbourne's Prettymess have an undeniable x-factor that makes them instantly loveable"
Nellie White - The Mercury
Prettymess formed in 2003 by John Baxter and Paul Inglis, both formerly of Melbourne band Alcotomic.
Following the demise of Alcotomic in 2001, much of 2002 was spent recording new music by Baxter and Inglis, which included collaborations with Andy Strachan (The Living End), Michael Snowball (Groundswell), and Danny McDonald (P76).
Music management company Ridgeway/Dacy heard the demo of Rescue Me and offered to sign them to their roster, which included Taxiride and The Andriods. Shortly after, guitarist Ryan Temby and drummer Paul Cengia joined the band and their temporary name of Polarised was ditched for Pretyymess. They went on to play their first showcase gig January 28 at the Evelyn Hotel, Fitzroy.
With no tangible direction or financial assistance, the band quickly became disillusioned with the management team and amicably parted ways mid 2003. With an unwavering DIY attitude, the quartet went on to sign a two album record deal with Australian Indie giant, Shock Records after the song Tripping landed on their desk. Shortly afterwards they signed with national booking agent, Premier Artists.
What would later become the debut album opener, Leaving Look was selected to be part of the Lost Weekend compilation in mid 2003. Released by Laughing Outlaw Records In Australia and Zip Records in the US, the compilation featured the best up and coming Australian independent bands of the year. Later in 2003, punk flavoured tune Inspiration also featured on the Australian Surf Life TV series, both of which raised the band’s profile enormously.
Released March 5 2004, Surface Glow was the band’s debut EP. Mixed by Craig Lewis at Kaleidoscope Music in Adelaide, it featured the critically acclaimed single, Tripping. The EP entered the AIR top 20 and stayed for a number of weeks while the band toured nationally with The Fauves, Epicure and Killing Heidi. The Australian Financial Review remarked: “It’s an Impressive EP by the rising Melbourne band. It's a velvet glove - large dollops of melody wrapped in hard hitting guitars and a big, fulsome sound.”
September 2004, after being awarded a VicArts artist development grant, the band reconvened to the studio, to work with acclaimed producer/mixer Shane O’Mara, on what would become the debut album Greyscale Broadcast. After another two tours through Tasmania and Victoria, the 11 track album was released February 21 2005 with Rescue Me as the lead single. Described as “superior pop rock, catchy and classic” by JB HIFI Magazine.
With the Rescue Me video on rotation on Channel V and Rage, both Nova 100 and Triple M added the song to their high rotation list. The band hit the road again with bands such as the Church, Thirsty Merc and MotorAce. Seed Magazine's live review of the band at Revolver in Prahran noted: “Someone obviously screwed up the playing order of the night because it was opening act Prettymess who rocked the stinking joint right out. If you love your dancy Rock'n'Roll; Prettymess, just check 'em out.”
The remainder of 2005 was spent on the road, with a number of memorable sold out shows with US band Switchfoot at the Forum Theatre and HiFi Bar, both in Melbourne. After another headline tour of Tasmania in April, the band closed out the year with their last ever live appearance, coincidentally supporting MotorAce’s final show before a full house of over 900 people at the HiFi bar on December 23 2005.
Although the band reconvened and began rehearsals in early 2006, it wasn’t until two years later that they reformed in May 2008 to record five new songs at Birdland Studio’s in Prahran with MotorAce drummer Damian Costin. Although the band decided not to continue, three songs from these sessions: Evolve, Slow Moving Traffic, and Silver Sun appeared on Five Mile Sniper’s EP and album.
John Baxter now has a podcast and blog covering Prettymess and his 30 plus years in the music industry. You can check it out here.