Never one to follow the pack and determined to stand out in any way they can, The Pretty Reckless make sure their latest offering grabs the attention of listeners within a matter of seconds – after all, it’s not every day you find a record that begins with the sounds of what can only be described as a girl being pleasured. Moaning aside, when the guitars of ‘Follow Me Down’ kick in, all systems are go at full throttle and Taylor Momsen takes everyone on one hell of a ride that refuses to let up through ‘Going To Hell’ and beyond.
The combination of thrashing guitars, pounding drums and Taylors’ raspy, powerful vocals certainly make this an album not to listen to if you’re hung-over, but, getting ready for a night out or losing your mind at a club, the likes of ‘Why’d You Bring A Shotgun To The Party’ are almost destined to become part of your new life soundtrack.
The closest to a pop song you’ll find here is revealed through ‘Heaven Knows’ and ensures real attention is paid to the huge improvement in Taylor’s voice, especially evident when you listen back to the band’s earlier material and come live shows, you’ll be fighting the urge not to sing along.
Taylor has always liked to shock and surprise with her music, and she continues to do so here, with the inclusion of a balladesque piece, in this case ‘House On A Hill’. With the instruments finally stripped back for the verses, it’s a fantastic example of the progress she and the band have made lyrically and makes for one of the highlights of the whole album, it’s that good.
The so called lull in the pace doesn’t last long and it’s soon back to the frenetic, tight musicianship pieces TPR have come to be known for and although ‘Dear Sister’ is an almost interlude that could easily be skipped or left out, ‘Absolution’ is a toe tapper, hand clapper from the second it starts.
To have the pace slowed down once is surprising enough but for it to happen twice, especially on a rock album is almost unheard of, and yet ‘Burn’, despite how short the track is, provides clear evidence if any were even needed by now, that Taylor is not a one trick pony; that she is progressing in her career and will no doubt continue to do so.
Closing track ‘Waiting For A Friend’ may not be what people expect to end the album and it’s likely such was the bands’ intention, but as random as it may be, it somehow works. Finally well and truly shaken off is Taylor’s ‘Gossip Girl’ persona and in its place stands the definition of who she is, laid bare for everyone to hear.
Evanescence’s Amy Lee may have held the title of rock queen in recent times, but she, and every other front-woman should now be very afraid – Taylor has proven herself to be one hell of a talent, to have earned her time in the spotlight and with a support slot on Fall Out Boy’s sell out tour currently underway, you can bet she won’t be giving it up any time soon.