The Pretty Reckless
There’s no doubt that The Pretty Reckless have suffered some brutally hard times since we last heard from them. In 2017, the band was opening for Soundgarden when we lost the iconic Chris Cornell to suicide, an event that would result in the band pulling out of their tours and hiding away from the public for years to come. With the pain of loss still ricocheting through the band's hearts and souls, they had another tragedy to face when they lost a close friend and producer Kato to a motorcycle accident, just 11 months after the passing of Cornell.
Speaking to AP, Momsen said: "It was such a shock, and nobody was prepared for it. The passing of Chris Cornell was a very traumatic experience for myself and the world. I wasn’t in a good place to be public, so I said, ‘I can’t do this. I can’t get onstage every night and put on this entertaining rock show and pretend to be OK when I’m not."
"It took so long because I was dealing with my own personal shit that was no one’s business but mine. We really wanted to make something great and figure this out by getting through it physically and emotionally without dying. I personally hit a point in my life where I had to make a conscious decision between death and moving forward. I was in a very dark place, but I chose to move forward."
Momsen continues: "I put everything I had on tape physically, emotionally and mentally, so I hope people can hear that. It’s simply that life threw me a bunch of curveballs, and I had to decide whether to take them and run with them or let them destroy me."
The Pretty Reckless have never shied away from voicing their feelings. Sex, death, love, drugs, success and failure have been running themes for the band's music since they released their debut album all the way back in 2010 and shook the music scene with their raunchy music video for ‘Miss Nothing’. Now, 11 years later, they’re still spilling their guts to us like we’re old friends.
Following the explosive entrance of Death by Rock and Roll comes the second-longest song on the album ‘Only Love Can Save Me Now’. Joined by Soundgarden’s Matt Cameron and Kim Thayil, this track was recorded at London Bridge Studio in Seattle, the same studio that Soundgarden recorded Louder Than Love all those years ago. The typical Soundgarden sound shines through on this track, with Taylor’s vocals even sounding like a mimic of Cornell’s vocals at certain points throughout the track. It’s a gritty, relatable track that most can find solace in and perhaps Soundgarden fans could find some, now much needed, nostalgia within.
Gracing through the album, we are met with a 39-second interlude entitled ‘Broomsticks’, a song with a sweet, spooky feel that is easily overtaken by the mindblowing ‘Witches Burn’, referencing the past consequences women would face when refusing to obey or were seen as threats by others. Momsen reminds us that she is who she is, and she’ll take whatever comes her way for being her.
The final songs pack the hardest punch. With the acoustic beauty of lonesome lovesong ‘Standing at the Wall’ and the emotional ‘Rock and Roll Heaven’ coming fully armed with stunning lyrics and a beautiful sound, the hardest hit comes from the final song ‘Harley Darling’.
Referencing the late Kato, Harley Darling tells us of the heartbreak that the band felt regarding the loss of their friend and producer. ‘Oh Harley darling, you took my friend, you took everything and now I’m alone again’ serenades Momsen as the sounds of engines revving and harmonica’s humming fill the track. Unfortunately, the song will be relatable for so many of us who have lost those we love, but as great musicians do, Momsen makes us feel comfortable with her words and keeps the memories of both The Pretty Reckless’ lost loved ones and ours alive with this heartfelt track.
Momsen states ‘It’s cliché, but rock and roll saved our lives.’ and Death By Rock and Roll makes this obvious. It’s a definite hit, and an album that’ll be remembered for a lifetime.
The Pretty Reckless - Death By Rock N Roll - out February 12, 2021.