REVIEW: The Pretty Reckless's undoubtedly cool first album in five years, "Death By Rock and Roll"
While The Pretty Reckless's latest release is an exciting blend of their distinctive fortissimo sound - heavy distortion guitar littered with power chords along with Taylor Momsen’s incredible raspy voice - Death By Rock and Roll is also an interesting exploration of new styles for the band. The Pretty Reckless are certainly not among those unlucky enough to be hit by the fourth album curse.
"Death by Rock and Roll" and "And So It Went," in collaboration with Tom Morello, are both aggressively and foot-stompingly fantastic. The strong and grungey 90’s-esque guitar riffs and melodies are typical for TPR and are reminiscent of their earlier rambunctious material. Both with millions of streams on Spotify already, the repetitive verses are catchy and destined for success.
In "Death by Rock and Roll," Momsen sings: “In my tombstone when I go, just put death by rock and roll.” Morbid, perhaps, but undoubtedly cool.
For me, "25" really stands out above the rest. The song is so powerful in the way that Momsen reminisces on reaching a quarter of a century. Growing up as a child star and working in the industry from age 2, she seems almost shocked as she sings “25, and still alive”. Starting out with notation nearly identical to that of the James Bond theme, and followed by chiming bells, the track is purely hypnotic. Not to mention Momsen’s, fantastic range and control, possibly some of her best vocal work. Throughout, counting is incorporated into the lyrics and the track finishes with what sounds like a ticking clock, perhaps indicating life ticking by. Overall, the track is hauntingly beautiful.
The intensity drops as we move into the second half of the album. "Got So High" is a perfect example of modern classic rock, and TPR execute this with brilliance.
Halloween-like "Broomsticks," the 7th track on the record, is a deliciously creepy 38 seconds of mysterious strings and breathy vocals.
Closing the album are two interesting countryfied tracks, not something that TPR hasn’t explored in previous releases, but definitely a contrast from the beginning of the album and displaying a more vulnerable side of the bands usual edgier style.
The country elements in "Rock and Roll Heaven" suits Taylor’s voice perfectly. She sings “The great gig in the sky, gotta make it to 27,” an obvious reference to the ‘Forever 27 Club’; a group of artists who all died at this age. The sombre, melancholic tone along with the lyrics “people come and go but deep down I know, we’ll meet again someday” may be a tribute to Taylor’s close friends and heroes Chris Cornell and producer Kato Khandwala, both of whom tragically passed away a few years ago.
Naturally, some tracks stand out above others in terms of rock and roll, but nevertheless the album is an unquestionably thrilling listen.