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From neck to crown, Jeph, Tom, and Hannah Thorslund are just a little too attractive to pass the Pretty Faces moniker off without explanation. Adorable married couple Jeph and Hannah add to the "Hey, look at us — we're pretty!" quotient by wearing snug-fitting trousers and attention-grabbing accessories such as scarves and sailor hats. Is it vanity or hopefully something more clever?
"Our fashion is a little gratuitous," 22-year-old bassist Hannah admits, "and our name weeds out a lot of people. But people who know punk automatically get it."
Yes, there is a touch of deliberate vanity, according to guitarist Jeph, 26, but it's more about projecting glam-rock audacity than rubbing in their good looks. "People either think that I'm fruity," he adds, "or that I'm Iggy Pop."
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Jeph and his 22-year-old brother, Tom, the band's drummer, chose the name long before petite frontwoman Hannah's widely acknowledged hotness ever made it redundant. In fact, the brothers, who relocated from Canada to Coral Springs with their family in 2003, recorded an album called Lipstick Kiss under the name as teenagers. A few years later, Hannah, who was playing solo acoustic gigs in Waterloo, Ontario, since she was 16, came down to cement her budding long-distance romance with Jeph and joined the band.
In actuality, the name Pretty Faces originates from "Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell" by influential protopunks the Stooges. "It's really about a combination of blood, violence, and vanity," Jeph explains.
Before Jeph exposed her to the sounds of punk's '60s origins, Hannah was not quite the tigress that she is today. "Jeph brought it out in me," she says. "I don't feel like I've changed. I was always bored by long intros and wanted to change the notes faster and faster. Now I ask Jeph, 'Why can't you scream like Frank Black?' "
Until last December, the Pretty Faces performed on local stages month in and month out. In November, they released their second album, Another Sound, at Propaganda and then went on a ten-date tour that took them to New York, Boston, and Toronto. A long and much-needed break followed.
"By the time Another Sound came out," Tom says, "we were so sick of these songs, and they were at least 2 years old."
Another Sound is for the most part softer than the influences that the Pretty Faces claim. Tracks like "Right on the Money" and "Sweet Sixteen" are straightforward love songs with catchy lyrics and pop appeal, but the last two tracks, "Pistolera" and "Sinking Ship," strike a much harder chord.
Hannah describes the songs that they're now writing as "more picturesque and a little angrier" than their previous sound, and at least a couple should figure into what could be the last local performance for a while.
The Pretty Faces plan to move to San Francisco at the end of the summer, but don't worry: They promise to come back to visit. As Jeph puts it: "We've put a lot of blood down here, and we still have family here."