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The Pretty Reckless - Going to Hell

The Pretty Reckless - CD Review
Going to Hell


CD Info
Razor & Tie Records
12 tracks English lyrics
2014 Release


The Pretty Reckless is a New York-based hard rock 4-some fronted by former actress and model Taylor Momsen, known as much for Momsen’s somewhat risqué image and lyrics as they are for their grungy yet classic style of songwriting. Don’t let the above description fool you, however. Momsen is not to be underestimated, and has said in multiple interviews that music has always been her first love. Going to Hell is the band’s sophomore effort, one that has spent a long time in coming due to a number of unforeseen circumstances, including the complete destruction of their studio and equipment by Hurricane Sandy and the death of a close friend of the band’s. In true rock ‘n roll fashion, however, they turned tragedy into inspiration and released what will surely be one of the best rock releases of the year.

    On this album, The Pretty Reckless showcase a more mature and experimental sound, moving on from the more straightforward rock numbers of their 2010 debut Light Me Up. This is evident right from the beginning on “Follow Me Down,” a track that wouldn’t seem out of place on a show like American Horror Story or True Blood and intersperses crunchy up-tempo riffs with quieter, almost bluesy passages. The rockin’ title track “Going to Hell” and the provocative “Sweet Things” also show the band’s willingness to play around with their sound, while the anthemic second single “Heaven Knows,” which has already topped the rock charts in the US, even sees them employing a children’s choir. We also see more diversity from Taylor, who, aside from her signature smoky vocal, tries everything from soft croons to throaty screams throughout the album. Of course, where she really shines vocally is the album’s ballads, including the moody acoustic “Burn” and the record’s folky closer “Waiting for a Friend.”

    What we get from the Pretty Reckless this time around is a varied yet cohesive piece of work, broadening themselves both musically and lyrically. Unlike the debut album, which explored a teenage life full of sex, drugs, and other debauchery, the new album takes on the deeper themes of sin and redemption and presents a generally darker outlook than its predecessor. And there’s no denying it, the songs are good. Light Me Up is already an album I go back to regularly, and Going to Hell is likely to join it on that rather exclusive list, if only because “Heaven Knows” is such a brilliant and addictive track. Here’s to hoping it becomes a classic for the current generation of hard rock and metal fans.