I first heard the Pettyfords on the first Hawaiian Express compilation. The song was called Dreamboat. I was happy to hear more of their stuff on their 7" and Monday Night Live set and then later on their full length. The Pettyfords are a four-piece from Mililani that started out with Jeremy (guitar, vocals), Cavan (bass), Derek (guitar, vocals), and Roy (drums). They took a break in 2001 and got back together last year. Now Steve (Buckshot Shorty, Temporary Lovers) is on drums. They also came out with a new EP called, Domesticated (2011). It's pretty rad.
The first and last full-length by The Pettyfords came out in 2000. The album, Aloha Means Goodbye (Woah Oh Records), featured thirteen songs of punk-pop jams about mean girls (I'd Rather Play Nintendo), dream girls (Winnie Cooper), imaginary girls (Ms. Pacman), and video games (Ms. Pacman and 8-Bit Dream). It was a solid release by one of Hawaii's finest. Aside from the cool guitar leads, spot-on bass lines, and tight drumming, one of the better parts of the album were the two-part vocal harmonies. The vocals were high-pitched, catchy and always full of melody (best heard on Kids and Parents Alike and 8-Bit Dream). Eleven years later, the quartet releases five new songs through the EP, Domesticated. The musicianship has matured - there's more diversity in the guitar work, the vocals have lowered a bit, and the lyrics take on a more serious tone. But aside from these obvious (good) changes, the EP still keeps with it a very familiar, but very welcome, set of original punk-pop songs.
The EP opener, Only the Good Die Young, starts off strong, all ready with the dual-vocals by both Jeremy Rhodes and Derek Watkins. Some pretty tight guitar work comes in during a breakdown of the song, although some of the more tighter riffs are on the second track, Midnight Walk Amongst the Weary. A solo appears half way through the song along with some dual guitar work afterward. This song also has some of the familiar whoa-oh vocal action during the chorus, but it's probably best heard on, Hank, Take Me Home. On No Man's Land, another guitar solo appears as well as some of the more diverse song writing by the band. But it is the last song, Who I Am, that showcases the band's new sound. It's a lot more dynamic in structure with lots more movement in the instrumentals than any previous Pettyfords song ever. It's the right track to close the EP.
The Pettyfords have come a long way musically since, Mmm...Pettyfords (Wet Noodle Records), and songs like, If I was a Girl, and Corey's Girl. Sure, the music has taken into a new direction, but the right one. The music does seem a little bit darker, but wiser. The tempo did slow down just a little bit, but it's still consistent with melody. The whoa-oh's are still intact, and the instrumentals are full of sweet harmonies. But that's probably what counts the most, the whoa-oh's.