Alice Cooper's first album, a beautiful psychedelic mess that assaults the senses in ways their later shock-rock stylings never could. This is the least understood Cooper album for many plainly obvious reasons - it sounds like nothing that would later come from them - But for fans of early krautrock, Barrett-era Pink Floyd, early Can, early Soft Machine and Henry Cow, this should be right up your alley. Although, the Alice Cooper here doesn't really sound like any of those artists, the free-form, wreckless stylings do recall them. The Alice Cooper group were sort of Frank Zappa proteges during this album. "Pretties for You" was issued by Zappa's Straight record label that was originally intended to release mainstream artists, and his Bizarre label for the more avant-garde artists, but the concept failed due to issues with management. With the album, some songs are more straightforward, like "Living" and "Changing Arranging" both of which have instantly memorable melodies. The longer cuts, "Swing Low Sweet Cheerio" and "Fields of Regret" play like extended jams and are heavy on Alice's harmonica playing. "Levity Ball" is an elaborate and tuneful mini-suite. The decision to use a live take was likely a deliberate artistic choice, but the details get lost in the fuzzy, crude recording. Apparently, Zappa wanted the album to sound like you were driving in a car that's passing a garage with the band playing inside. Elsewhere, the songs sound like short, nonsensical links and transitions. "Reflected" - arguably the best-known song here, since it was re-worked as the later hit "Elected" - is the most accessible moment to fans of Alice Cooper's later work. The vocals are infectious, and the band delivers a lot of firepower. In some ways, it has an edge on the remake, and is a clear highlight. The Alice Cooper group were obviously still searching for a musical identity at this point, but this in no way detracts from the album. "Pretties For You" is a messy, loud and confusingly fascinating listen.
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