Tuesday, November 01, 2022

Long Live Rock and Roll: The Pretty Reckless Are Back with the Striking Fifth Album 'OTHER WORLDS'

A sensational outfit influenced by all things classic rock, there is no doubt that The Pretty Reckless has played and reinvented the different personas of what rock and roll can and should be. The result? A much-needed breath of life into the genre for the next generation, introducing a new sense of style and bold vision that cements their place in rock and roll history.

Unlike other albums, 'Other Worlds' sees The Pretty Reckless play covers, acoustic versions, and remixes from the album 'Death by Rock and Roll,' stripping it down and making it feel refreshed. What works so well with 'Other Worlds' is how clever and creative the band has been to find a new angle for each new rendition of iconic tracks and to include their favourite songs that have played a pivotal role in the evolution of their style and essence as a band. 


The first track on the new album is not an acoustic version of one of their pre-existing songs; instead, it takes a slightly new approach. What 'Other Worlds' does so ideally is showcase rock in all its glory, implementing the many forms it comes in. 'Got So High (remix)' though, like its original counterpart, feels refreshed, lighter and airier. It shows more signs of soft rock with what can only be described as jingly pop synths with a heavy, slow drumbeat. This different approach to the track is the perfect way to open the album, giving a strong sense of familiarity and renovation.


The first cover on the album is from the iconic 1989 'Loud Love' by Sound Garden; this is a livelier track than others on the album. The original combines heavy metal and hard rock with a splash of grunge. The Pretty Reckless don't stray too far away from the original's rawness but clean up the edges slightly to complement their style as a band.


With deep and heavy guitars, the hint of grunge is replaced by an alternative edge. The original has a slower build-up than this rendition. The guitars are sped up slightly, not drawn out and have a cleaner sound. This lends itself to Taylor Momsen's deeper vocals, the sheer passion in her voice accompanied by the instrumentals from Ben PhillipsMark Damon and Jamie Perkins to give listeners an insight into the love they feel towards rock and roll but also who has inspired them.


Adding some folk-rock flare to the album, The Pretty Reckless' cover of 'The Keeper' by Chris Cornell, teaming up with multi-instrumentalist, producer, and artist Alain Johannes playing the guitar. The pensive and poetic track tells the tale of struggle and triumph. Momsen's vocals perfectly capture Cornell's lyrics and meaning, communicating a wave of emotions but giving a sense of calmness that the listener will get lost in.


Paying homage to The Thin White Duke, the last persona of the late David Bowie'Quicksand' like the original, has a peculiar concoction of what can only be described as nonsense-filled lyrics. The simplicity of this cover makes it stand out on the album. With just Momsen's vocals, an acoustic guitar and the impeccable talent of pianist Mike Garson, the song oozes with influences from the rock legend David Bowie and is nothing short of captivating.


'Other Worlds' gives listeners acoustic covers of the previous album's singles, including '25,' 'Only Love Can Save Me Now' and 'Death By Rock And Roll.' Momsen's bluesy seductive howl paired with sweetly stoned melodies enters a new territory especially shown in the acoustic rendition of '25,' showing her vocals in a brand-new light and giving literal goosebumps.


Another one of the standout tracks from 'Death by Rock and Roll', 'Harley Darling' gets an acoustic rendition. A sombre affair with optimistic undertones acting as a tribute to Kato Khandwala," the late producer. The track describes love and loss, perfectly encapsulating the feelings accompanying grief, giving the overall track a bittersweet feeling from start to finish. The beauty behind 'Harley Darling (acoustic)' is that anyone who listens to it can relate to it at some point. Facing the hard truth and the reality of loss, the track offers comfort to those listening. Though not straying too far from the original release, this reworked version somehow becomes more personal and emotional.


The second Sound Garden cover on the album, The Pretty Reckless cover 'Halfway There.' The band originally covered this track during lockdown to mark the third anniversary of the passing of the rock legend Chris Cornell. Teaming up with Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron results in a robust cover. Cameron's appearance on this album reminds us how and why he is a respected drummer, and paired with Taylor Momsen's energy; it gives the already iconic track a new lease of life.


The recording of Elvis Costello's '(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding' served as Taylor Momsen's first cover, the starting point for 'Other Worlds.' Originally performed for the Fearless At Home Livestream amid Covid. Short and sweet, the band can perfectly capture the simple message of unity and love in a troubled world, told perfectly by Ben Phillip's acoustic guitar playing and Taylor Momsen's vocals.


'Got So High (Album Version)' tackles the issues of Momsen's substance abuse and inner demons following a wave of loss and grief. 'Got So High,' whether you're listening to the album version or the remix, showcases raw emotion in every lyric; the acoustic style blends together with the close resemblance to the alternative grunge of past releases by similarly closing the album to how it started it feels like the perfect way to bring it to a full circle.


'Other Worlds' is a simplistic yet intricate album celebrating rock and roll in its glory and many personas. Each track takes on a different style but builds on what makes The Pretty Reckless iconic. Fuelled by sheer love and passion for the genre, the band continues to go from strength to strength, not just to take the rule book but setting it ablaze. This boundlessness drives 'Other Worlds', where they deliver their first proper acoustic recordings, unexpected covers and other reimaginings; the Pretty Reckless are entering a new territory once more.


Ana Joy King


Image: ‘Other Worlds’ Official Album Cover

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