Pesky – An Effort to Do Good

An Effort to Do Good

I kind of cringed when I looked at the cover art for An Effort to Do Good by Pesky. I know that the quality of album art does not necessarily correlate to the quality of music, but the clashing combination of hot pink, yellow, and electric blue squares on the cover failed to excite me. Based solely on the cover, I was expecting to hear a mediocre, cutesy pop band.
I popped the CD in and was pleasantly surprised by how good Pesky is. Pesky is a trio that makes the most of what they have with their appealing melodies and vocals. They have an 80s sound to them without resorting to heavy use of synthesizers or singing with detached voices. Pete Thomas, guitarist and vocalist for the band, possesses a likeable voice with slight emo tendencies that is reminiscent of Matt Sharp (The Rentals) at times. Pesky creates concise pop songs that are new but familiar sounding. Most of the tracks on An Effort to Do Good are upbeat and catchy yet contain surprisingly melancholy lyrics. On “Rounding Error,” Thomas sings, “You ripped your heart out of your chest / And you handed it to me” and “I’ve seen a lot of bad things come out of an effort to do good” on “Apologize.”
Perhaps another reason to like Pesky is that they like the Magnetic Fields. A lot. In fact, two Magnetic Fields covers are featured on this album, “Candy” and “No One Will Ever Love You.” Although lyrically the songs fit in with Pesky’s brand of broken-hearted pop, the first cover proves to be more successful than the second. Having two Magnetic Fields tracks is a bit distracting when sung as straight-faced as Pesky does. While “Candy” is lyrically in the same vein with Pesky’s other songs, “No One Will Ever Love You” falls a bit short because it lacks the humor of the original and is sung too seriously.
Overall this is a fun album whether you choose to listen to the lyrics or not. An Effort to Do Good is a solid debut album with excellent pop tunes that are immediately likeable. This is the first release off the new Closed System label, and with Pesky’s debut album, this label is off to a good start.