The Pilgrims, It's Not Pretty | Album Review | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

The Pilgrims, It's Not Pretty 

Album Review

Published October 17, 2012 at 10:40 a.m.


(What Doth Life, digital download)

If you’ve heard of the Pilgrims before, there’s probably a solid chance that you’ve heard of an entirely different band that also happens to be called the Pilgrims. It’s just one of those band-around-town kind of names. However, these Pilgrims, from Windsor, are far from your average Pilgrims — often folk-y, maybe a little obnoxiously historical or even perhaps a Spanish indie band. These Pilgrims are rock dudes who sound hell-bent on tearing down the barriers mysteriously constructed between every generation’s punk and alt-rock scenes.

“That Gold,” the first track on It’s Not Pretty, the Pilgrims’ first full-length release — and second offering for Upper Valley collective/label What Doth Life — opens with some lone crunchy guitar chords reminiscent of the intro guitar part to the Clash’s 1978 “Clash City Rockers.” The full band’s entrance shifts the song’s 1970s punk throwback sound swiftly forward into an early R.E.M/Replacements ’80s basement-rock kind of vibe. The bass line is maybe a little too funky and the beat is maybe a little too calculated to really call it punk rock, but there’s no question that it’s raw. Vocals, when they enter, alternate between whiny rude-boy — think Billy Joe Armstrong on 1992’s Kerplunk — and throat-shattering scream.

It’s all there on the first track, 1978 to 1992. And while the Pilgrims don’t stray too far from this stylistically on the remaining 12 tracks, they do keep It’s Not Pretty moving at a fun, fast pace.

“Snow Storm,” the album’s fifth track, provides a break from the in-your-face aesthetic with which the Pilgrims apparently feel most comfortable. It comes as a pleasant surprise to find that these boys can play a mellower, gently sung song well. Country-tinged guitar breaks come and go throughout and, except on the power choruses, the drums only threaten to piss off the neighbors. “Snow Storm” also seems to be the Pilgrims’ best effort to write a serious, emotional song. Lines like “I’m painting pictures, burning bridges all over this town” and “I’m shaking like a runaway child when you hold my hand” stand out against the tongue-in-cheek lyrics found on the majority of the album.

It’s Not Pretty ends much the same way it begins and, while I usually prefer those typically nostalgic, looking-back kinds of closing tracks, I respect the Pilgrims’ choice. “Saint Paul” is as simple and urgent as any of the tracks that came before it, and highlights the Pilgrims’ talent for arranging extreme rockers and playing them extremely well.

The Pilgrims play Charlie O’s in Montpelier this Friday, October 19, and Radio Bean in Burlington this Saturday, October 20. 

It’s Not Pretty is available at

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

More By This Author

About The Author

Sean Hood


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Album Review

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2022 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation