by Sacha Kingston-Wayne
On Pre Nup's self-titled 7", married couple Josiah and Sara Jean Hughes wrestled with the effect that irony has had on their lives, a conflict which remains at play over the course of their new album, Oh Well. With standout track “On the Nose,” Josiah laments trying to express himself in a way which sounds sincere, “it’s like we’re stuck in a bad movie with some shitty dialogue.”
Oh Well includes contributions from Chris Dadge and Darrell Hartsook, both members of fellow Calgary band Lab Coast, another group with a knack for short bursts of lo-fi guitar pop. Much of Pre Nup’s instrumentation is unshowy, leaving the focus on Josiah Hughes’ self-reflective lyrics. “We go, we go/another show and I still don’t even understand the point” he sings on album closer “Life in Hell,” perfectly capturing the disillusionment that can come with a life built around music.
Pre Nup’s songs are often fascinated with the minutiae of petty disagreements. Lead single “Internet Arguments” follows a troll who “started a war just for fun,” while the narrator of “The Grudge” considers retiring a vendetta (“it’s alright to tell me that you think I should give it up”).
The Hughes' made Pre Nup after years spent cutting their teeth in punk outfit Grown-Ups. Though the songs on Oh Well are sometimes weary, its best moments (like “The Grudge”) are the ones in which the band challenge themselves to be hopeful. For Pre Nup, music is hell. But that doesn’t seem to slow them down.