The Pretty Reckless, Going To Hell – review

going to hellTaylor Momsen and friends return with their eagerly-anticipated sophomore longplayer, Going To Hell: 

The Pretty Reckless – formerly just The Reckless – are probably best known for the 2010 hit You Make Me Wanna Die. They are fronted by blonde stunner/edgy rock-chick Taylor Momsen (no need to remind you that, prior to being part of the hard rock four piece, this talented 20-year-old starred in Gossip Girl).

The record has a definite style about it. Taylor’s vocal is instantly recognisable and it isn’t just the loud, heavier style she suits. Her voice is versatile and she shows the softer side to it in Burn, a strangely calming number that slows the tempo of the album just slightly, and provides well-needed relief from the many heavier tracks. The record is deliberately provocative; the sleeve which features Momsen completely nude with a black arrow drawn drawn down her back and her modesty covered with only tape from the front. Not surprising considering that she is well known for her sex appeal.

The opening of the first track, the sound of a woman coming to climax, is a little off-putting because it didn’t seem necessary or to fit. This can be forgiven though, as it’s the only instance of use of a sound that doesn’t quite seem to gel. Elsewhere, this album sees a more mature side to the band in terms of the sound. And while their lyrics aren’t going to win any awards for the deepest or most grown-up words put to a melody, not all music needs to be deep and meaningful and sometimes sexy and carefree is just what the doctor ordered. The Pretty Reckless are a rock band who don’t pretend to be anything else; their individuality and the feeling of not giving a shit is impressive, refreshing and makes me think that this album will go on to be more successful than their debut.

The title-track makes use of powerful guitar solos and shows off Momsen’s strong voice. Not as similar to the stuff on their first album as some of the other tracks, this up-tempo number is catchy and allows you to imagine the band performing live. The end of the song slows and softens slightly to an impressive crescendo.

Some of the songs flirt with a softer style, with a guitar and woodwind instruments accompanying Taylor in a style we aren’t used to from the Pretty Reckless. Waiting for a Friend is an honest-sounding, solemn track and Blame Me has the potential to be a lot of people’s favourite (it’s certainly mine); the type of song that’s suited to radio play – unlike those with obvious obstacles like obscenities in the title (Fucked up world) – and could open the band to fans that wouldn’t otherwise consider The Pretty Reckless as ‘their kind of music’.

The band supported the release of this album in America with a headline tour and are going on to support Fall Out Boy. I anticipate that this album will prompt high ticket sales in the UK if and when the band visit. This is something a bit different to most records out there at the minute and, although some of the songs are a little samey, this is definitely worth a listen.

Review by Laura Ghafoor