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Prettier than Matt / Press

“Despite their different musical backgrounds, or maybe because of it, the duo's music is a blend of uncanny balance framed by Skinner's, sassy, sweet-as-honey vocals and Pitts' ability to adapt his strumming so that it helps the flow of each song. Pitts' rough, pleading vocals create a stark contrast to Skinner's smoother approach, giving their songs an edge that would be absent without Pitts. Skinner's sweeter vocal style can be deceiving, such as on "Gotta Be More," which offers up a poppy, upbeat melody that is propelled by the singer's ukele. A closer listen to the lyrics reveal the story tells of an unsatisfied relationship. On "Goodbye Love," another standout track from the duo's recently released album "Better Left Unsaid," Skinner's voice oozes with pain and frustration over a love that comes to an end after 15 years. "I think our styles blend pretty well," Pitts said. "We can do any kind of venue — a coffeehouse, church or bar. We make pop music."”

“Prettier Than Matt is a self-contained DIY effort, with Pitts and Skinner handling their own booking and management; on their own they have been able to mount cross-country tours the past several years and play shows with Sister Hazel, G. Love and Special Sauce, Danielle Howle, and others. The duo released their latest album, “Better Left Said,” on April 23 and have been touring around the country in support of it. “Better Left Said” was recorded with Kenny McWilliams at Archer Avenue Studio in Columbia, S.C. The duo took a batch of new compositions and paired them with new takes on several songs from previous recordings. The album presents a mature songwriting duo with a true sense of what they want to say, which is a lot. “This album shows where we’re at as a duo now,” she says. “It’s taken us years to get this point. It feels great because we’ve grown as musicians as well as people. We’ve become more confident in what we’re trying to say.””

“Prettier Than Matt unites folk-pop and country with a modern touch. Frontwoman Jessica Skinner sings and plays ukulele, which gives the duo its Southern-meets-indie identity. Jeff Pitts’ rougher voice and guitar are the group’s anchors on the rock side of the equation. All told, Prettier Than Matt combines early Dolly Parton (from the “Jolene” era) and mid-2000s Regina Spektor with a personal twist.”

“Some things don’t change in the PTM camp, however; Skinner still takes the lead on vocals here more often than not and it’s her point of view that infuses the songs. Her clear and sweetly ringing voice is well-balanced technique and emotion with a perfect pop sensibility. Lyrically, it’s mostly relationship-driven themes seen through a woman’s eyes. Jessica has a natural way of conveying an emotional persona that’s wounded, but tough. With vocals that often bring to mind modern country music, her attitude of a vulnerability tempered with a survivor’s ethos will strike a chord with many listeners of that genre.”

“Songs like the softly shuffling opener “Anymore” and the sparklingly strummed “Gotta Be More” are pure pop gems that shine with an almost childlike innocence. Lead singer and ukulele player Jessica Skinner has a clear, emotional voice that nails the album’s miles-wide hooks, and though the lyrics do take on heartbreak and uncertainty, there’s nary any despair in these catchy, nicely crafted songs. And while he’s mostly content to create shimmering guitar tapestries behind Skinner, guitarist Jeff Pitts takes the mic on a couple of selections, revealing a modest, here-goes-nothing approach that’s both earnest and endearing.”

“Jeff Pitts and Jessica Skinner, the Columbia singers who perform as Prettier Than Matt, are convinced they have something special. They’ve swung through cross-country tours each of the past two years, confidently peddling crisp harmonies and bright melodies to new crowds. With songs that are accessible without seeming calculated, it’s easy to imagine them doing well on the road. Wistful acoustic strums gird sweet pricks of electric guitar in songs that are occasionally humorous and always heartfelt.”

“EP opener “Play Dead” is a clean electric blues number with great fills and a perfect solo, courtesy of Pitts. Jessica’s singing is honey smooth as usual, with no rough edges. “I Spilled My Drink” with its lightly rolling movement belies its slightly somber subject of someone relieving a day of boredom with a liquid refreshment. With mood help set by melodica accompaniment from Jessica, Jeff gets the listener involved in an ordinary moment in someone’s life. I am taking the song title “Jim & Pam” at face-value as a reference to the famous couple from The Office, but the love song, buoyed by gentle strings mixed with a determined but sweet piano part, could be about any lovers. During the chorus, the lines “When you fall apart/ I’ll hold you together” surmounts any of its commonplace lyrical currency by the great wrapping of the traded vocals over each other like a pair of lover’s arm themselves.”

“Most acts who hustle this much to make a living rarely find the time for many out-of-town dates, but — once more — Prettier Than Matt bucks the trend. Following the group’s EP release show on Thursday, it will strike out on a cross-country tour that starts in Los Angeles. This duo also indulged in a nine-state swing last year. “We kind of see doing touring at our level as a sort of paid vacation,” Pitts explains. “We get to go travel, and the shows pay for the travel. We’re good doing it once a year for now.” The two will alternate better-paying cover gigs at World of Beer franchises with coffee shop appearances, keeping gas in the tank while still finding time to play what they’re passionate about. The big gig is in Los Angeles, where they’ll attend the Hollywood Music in Media Awards at The Fonda Theatre and play a showcase at The Mint a few days later. The show is Prettier Than Matt’s prize for winning in the folk category at the Charlotte Music Awards ea”

“The quick, one-take acoustic arrangements keep things intimate and authentic. Skinner’s rich warble is the focus on the languid “Sweet Little Jesus Boy,” while Pitts gets a chance to show his own vocal talents on a nicely rendered rendition of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” Their musical style here leans towards country and folk with the exception of the raucous and grinning spin through “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” that opens the EP. Musically balanced and earnestly joyful, Christmas Jams would serve as a great local addition to any tree-trimming playlist.”

“Columbia’s acoustic folk rock duo Prettier Than Matt have dropped their first record, “Play Pretty” and the results bode well for their future. Jessica Skinner and Jeff Pitts both take turns singing lead, although she gets the lion’s share of the duties here. The band set-up might draw comparisons with groups like She & Him, although Prettier Than Matt are definitely playing in a more traditional style of pop than that duo, which is in their favor. Skinner’s great voice reminds me of Alison Krauss or even a country-tinged Hayley Williams. The playing is professional and well-produced, a folky kind of acoustic rock, with spare percussion, if any, on some of the songs. The songs themselves mostly deal with issues of failed relationships or lost loved ones and both singers surrender an emotional appeal in their lyrics. For the rest of the review, follow this link: http://scmusicguide.com/prettier-than-matt-play-pretty/”

“A Columbia-based duo composed of Jessica Skinner and Jeff Pitts, Prettier than Matt churns out infectious folk-pop comparable to that of nationally renowned duo She & Him. Prettier than Matt's repertoire includes outstanding originals along with covers of such songs as Roger Miller's “King of the Road.””

“This is Prettier than Matt. They are a kick ass folk/rock duo from Columbia, South Carolina that is taking the region by storm. Their covers of "Sittin On The (Dock of The Bay)" and "Dream A Little Dream", their original songs "Miss You" (which happens to be one of my personal favorites), and "No More Tears", are very classic and soothing. The main singer, Jessica Skinner, who also doubles on the ukulele, has a Mama Cass-like voice. There is an old soul in this Erskine College graduate's vocals. As for Jeff Pitts, he is the front man for the band Deleveled and shares vocals as well as guitarist of Prettier than Matt. He balances the group out well with his rock feel to Jessica's folk sound. Currently, "No More Tears" can be heard on youtube, and "Miss You", which the video is being shot for, is available on itunes. They are currently working on their debut album, which has an expected release date of fourth quarter 2011.”