The new Young Rapids reemerged this year from their hiatus with purpose, though the expressive core of the DC dream pop group remains as strong as ever. As with their earliest recordings, today’s Young Rapids carefully and artfully synthesize their interests in storytelling and experimentalism into a vast yet direct sound that’s at times reminiscent of Radiohead, TV on the Radio and The Walkmen, while remaining uniquely original. Pretty Ugly is fully formed, each twist and turn reinforcing the album’s character, all leading to the catharsis of closer “Ugly”. “Now I understand,” croons Dan Gleason at the record’s end. And somehow, we do too.
“One minute the DC quartet layer psych squiggles and gently emotive synths to create a wall of wow, the next they’re stretching their limbs and getting instrumentally expansive—no lyrics necessarily—but at their core they excel in the kind of tidy melodies that tug at you in all the right ways.” — Noisey
“a spectacular rainbow of sound in their latest cut: Lead singer Dan Gleason’s vocals are a dead ringer for Hamilton Leithauser’s inthe Walkmen’s regret-fueled “We’ve Been Had,” while the song’s five-minute orchestration constantly diverts to new forks in the road” — SPIN Magazine
“captivating and strange, they dance between haunting and absolutely glorious. Rumbling drums are understated yet powerful, while trickling synths create an eerie, slightly unsettling atmosphere. Occasional guitar chords and shuffling percussive loops playfully intertwine with the melody” — IndieShuffle