Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Death By Rock and Roll

The Pretty Reckless, New York bred band, briefly known as ‘The Reckless’ formed by the instantly recognise-able adolescent actress Taylor Momsen, and TPR have carried a presence throughout the music scene since their debut. In 2020 we saw ‘The Pretty Reckless’ sign to ‘Fearless Records’  in early May, the band initially planned to release their album sooner. However the surge of the coronavirus pandemic provided their inability to tour, and inevitably the release of the bands fourth album’s “Death By Rock And Roll” released only days ago on  February 12th 2021. 

The group ‘The Pretty Reckless’ now, Taylor Momsen (vocals), Ben Phillips (guitar), Jamie Perkins (drums) and Mark Damon (bass) are back with their fourth studio album, hold the current record for the most No. 1 singles by a female-led rock artist ever in Billboard Rock Chart history, spot gained by the bands first release from the album, the titular track “Death By Rock And Roll” . The opening title track is a celebration of life despite its slightly morbid title –  Momsen screaming [“I wanna go out my way”] could be likened to the battle cry of someone trying to take control of their life in a world that withholds power and freedom. The intersection of 90s grunge brought to life by guitars and classic rock melodies make this song an innate album opener. However “Only Love Can Save Me Now” sediments the albums grunge vibe with cameos from Soundgarden’s own Matt Cameron and Kim Thayil.

The two most cathartic tracks by far are  ‘“Rock and Roll Heaven” and “Harley Darling”, ending the album on an optimistic note. The structure of “Death by Rock and Roll” has been meticulously planned, the finale duo acting as the optimistic end of the album.  A tribute to the late Kato Khandwala. Hardly limited to  lyrical choices painting a eulogy, but also how the band stays true to their old producer’s guiding hand combining classic metal mixed with grunge, with a dash of country-rock for punctuation. Painting the universal reliability of the acceptance of loss, “Harley darling’”is a deeply personal declaration from the band.  The difficult periods in all our lives, can be defined by music soundtracks, acting as the light at the end of the tunnel. Taylor describes its presence on “Rock And Roll Heaven”, viaheart-warming strum complemented by name drops of The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison.

Truly a beautiful and heart bearing display of honesty and grief, pulled together and expressed in the only way TM knows, through her music we go on a shared journey of love and loss and mourning for the bands dear friends lost to a motorbike accident. A lighter prospect to potentially pull out your eyeshadow for, will be the hopeful touring of “Death by Rock and Roll”, you can catch them later this year [pandemic pending] as the band will also be performing at the 2021 ‘Aftershock festival’ in California, USA.

Patricia Poulton
Image: (nme.com)

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