The Pretty Reckless – Death By Rock and Roll – Album Review

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Many of you will know Taylor Momsen as the little girl from Jim Carrey’s ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’, or maybe you’ll recognise her from her role as Jenny Humphrey in ‘Gossip Girl’? But if you’re a fan of rock music like me, you will probably know her as the frontwoman for the rock and roll band: The Pretty Reckless. Formed in 2009, the band have released three albums boasting catchy classic rock anthems such as ‘My Medicine’, ‘Make Me Wanna Die’, ‘Heaven Knows’ and ‘Take Me Down’. Now having put 2020 to good use, The Pretty Reckless are back with the release of their fourth album ‘Death By Rock and Roll’.


Wasting no time at all, The Pretty Reckless open with their explosive title track, ‘Death By Rock and Roll’. This rock anthem boasts the bands quintessential classic rock sound to maximum effect. This song has a very familiar sound for rock fans, in fact the chorus title line sounds like ‘Cotton Eyed Joe’, despite this ‘Death By Rock and Roll’ is one of The Pretty Reckless’ best.


The band’s familiar classic rock sound continues nicely into the slower paced ‘Only Love Can Save Me Now’. The song boasts the same familiar classic rock stylings of the Pretty Reckless; however, near the end, guitarist Ben Phillips bursts to life with an excellent guitar solo that will make any rock- and metal-head very happy.


Next up is the Tom Morello featuring ‘And So It Was’. Bringing the same energy as the opening track,’ And So It Was’ demonstrates an unconventional amount of musical range from the band. Featuring an irresistible chant-along chorus, exceptionally catchy guitar riffs, and an incredible solo as to be expected from Tom Morello, ‘And So It Was’ is perhaps The Pretty Reckless’ best song to date.


At track number four is the album’s lead single, ‘25’. The song sounds like The Pretty Reckless’ submission for the next James Bond theme song, with its repetitive bars of grumbling guitars and death-march drums. The song also features a Beatles-inspired verse which surprisingly integrates quite well. 25 demonstrates The Pretty Reckless’ putting their 60’s rock inspirations to effective use in a song both classic rock and bond fans alike will enjoy.


Following from 25 is a thumping heavy metal offering in ‘My Bones’. Bringing the same classic rock energy of ‘Death By Rock and Roll’ and ‘And So It Was’, but heavier than both, ‘My Bones’ continues The Pretty Reckless’ hit streak on this album with another hit classic rock anthem with a truly epic finale.


‘Got So High’ follows and takes the album to a much more relaxing place as the song’s first ballad. When concerts resume, this track shall find fans lifting their phone torches in the air and swaying along. The album’s only interlude, ‘Broomsticks’ follows, creating a theatrical witchy feel to the album, flowing nicely into yet another classic rock sounding anthem with the aptly named ‘Witches Burn’.


Ballad number two comes in the form of acoustic track ‘Standing At The Wall’. The song allows Momsen to showcase her Bruce Springstein and Bryan Adam’s style of singing power ballads, and she does so in a way that the boss himself would be proud. ‘Turning Gold’ follows with an experimental opening sitar and use of organ, which leads into another toe-tapping classic Nashville-esque rock song.


The Pretty Reckless celebrates classic rock with their eleventh track ‘Rock and Roll Heaven’. The song is a sway-along rock ballad that pays respect to the legends of rock and roll past that inspired the band, but sadly are no longer with us. The song represents how rock lives on and thus legends will never die.


Finally the album ends on ‘Harley Darling’. Opening with a harmonica, The Pretty Reckless end on a country song which is somewhat laughable as I’m sure it’s a love letter to Harley Davidson motorcycles, due to the literal motorcycle engine they integrate into the song over the lyrics of ‘Ride Away’; fans of John Denver will enjoy this one.


Overall, ‘Death By Rock and Roll’ doesn’t reinvent the wheel of rock music, but it pays a fitting tribute to it. Starting a lot stronger than it finishes, the album won’t convert anyone that isn’t already a Pretty Reckless or classic rock fan, but nonetheless ‘Death By Rock and Roll’ is a solid rock album that, in my opinion, marks The Pretty Reckless’ best to date.

Death By Rock and Roll is OUT NOW to buy and stream