And now some words I wasn’t sure I’d ever write: the new album from The Pretty Reckless is pretty good!
Inspired by the darkness of tragedy and loss – they were on tour with Soundgarden when Chris Cornell took his own life – The Pretty Reckless has at last matured into the rock band they’ve always aspired to be. The hooks have always been there, and they’ve always had songs – just not enough of them – but they seemed to suffer from both a lack of genuineness and the baggage of Taylor Momsen’s past.
Death by Rock N Roll transcends all that with a set of dark, introspective and occasionally heavy songs paying tribute to fallen friends and colleagues – Cornell, most obviously, and producer Kato Khandwala – as they reflect on their own existence and mortality: I have to live to 27 before I die, Momsen sings in the semi-balladic Rock and Roll Heaven late in the piece.
The hard rocking title track opens the account with big riffs and Momsen’s soaring vocals and right away the album is on the right path. After their Baby Animals-like moment, Only Love Can Save Me Now steers into Soundgarden territory and lo and behold! it’s Kim Thayil giving the song its authentic groaning sludge and Matt Cameron taking it into unexpected directions into the latter half. Tom Morello drops his distinctive touch on the dismissive kiss-off And So it Went, but My Bones and Witches Burn prove that The Pretty Reckless don’t need the help of others to rock out.
On the album’s more reflective moments, Momsen brings a real fragility to her vocals that echo the vulnerability of her cover pose as she casts aside pretence for emotional honesty, the band showing a level of real control and nuance that adds a genuine depth to Death by Rock N Roll The Pretty Reckless has only hinted at before.
From big rock moves to heartfelt acoustic moments and a splash of country, The Pretty Reckless have found their place, and their soul.
- Death By Rock n Roll
- Only Love Can Save Me Now
- And So it Goes
- My Bones
- Got So High
- Witches Burn
- Standing at the Wall
- Turning Gold
- Rock and Roll Heaven
- Harley Darling