Two years after their last release, with the Hit Me like a Man EP, and the loss of half a million dollars’ worth of equipment due to a studio flood caused by Hurricane Sandy, The Pretty Reckless are back, sporting a brand new 12 track album, titled Going To Hell.
The album opens with the track Follow Me Down, with an intro containing the sounds of police sirens, and sexual sounding moans, which although may not be the ideal way to start an album, it does certainly grab your attention. The song begins with a great guitar riff, before frontwoman Taylor Momsen starts singing. She has a very husky, classic-rock style voice, which really suits the style of instrumental played by the band. The song is a good way to start the album, as it shows their hard rock, grungey style, but I know I could certainly do without the almost disturbingly sexual intro.
The next song on the album is Going to Hell, where the name for the album was taken. The intro for this song is also made up of a great guitar riff, but with some drum beats too. The song sounds very classic rock, with a southern-blues feel, through both the instrumentation, and the vocals. This song also contains an almost melodic sounding bridge, during which Momsen sings “please forgive me Father, I didn’t mean to bother you, the Devil’s in me, Father”, which is similar to the track Goin’ Down from their first studio album, Light Me Up, which also talks about needing forgiveness and absolution from sins.
This album isn’t all hard grunge however, as the song House on a Hill is softer than the others. It utilises acoustic guitar, rather than electric, to compliment the softer style of vocals, and some strings are even used, to add emotion. A voice like Momsen’s can be hard to show any emotion through, with its husky tones, but she manages it here, and the string accompaniment, paired with the acoustic guitar, enhances that further. The song also ends with the sound of a heartbeat, which adds to this effect.
It ends with a touch of country, with the track Waiting for a Friend. The song features the sound of acoustic guitar, as well as harmonica, and it has a real ‘flower power’ feel, which is an odd- but not unpleasant- change for The Pretty Reckless.
Overall the album is hugely varied, with acoustic ballads, country touches, and the usual gritty, grimey, classic style of The Pretty Reckless, containing a mixture of blues, grunge, and classic rock influences. The band have certainly made a comeback with this album, and even with its softer touches, it still remains a sleazy, grungey record, in all the right ways, with all the sass, attitude, and innuendo you’d expect to see from The Pretty Reckless. If you’re willing to keep an open mind about the sexual noises at the beginning of Follow Me Down, and the religious slurs in Going to Hell, this album may just be one of your new go-to’s.