This week has been good for new music. The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, has released a sick new album full of working-class grit, Andrew Bird has released some solid new material, Seattle’s own KnowMads have been featured on iTunes’ front page and Gotye has become the most unlikely star of the internet with “Somebody That I Used To Know” skyrocketing almost inexplicably to the top of the iTunes Overall Songs chart.
However, I’d like to give some love to The Pretty Reckless. They appeared a lot on my best of 2o11 list, and though they’re less popular with the film school sort for their neo-bluesy take on classic grunge rock, their output has been top-notch, keeping pace with rock inventors like producer Butch Vig, Jack White (and his many projects) and the Foo Fighters without losing grit.
The title track of this EP is straight-up blues-influenced grunge, and I have no complaints with that. Lead singer Taylor Momsen, who quit her job as an actress on CW soap Gossip Girl to pursue her dream of doing something real with music, has begun to really hone her lyrical strengths. I’m absolutely in love with a line from the verse:
I am strong, love is evil
It’s a version of perversion that is only for the lucky people
Version and perversion. Smart. And though her lyrics are still at times in need of polishing, this is the sign of youthful songwriting and opportunity for growth, like pre-Nirvana Cobain works (not to say that Momsen is anywhere near Cobain, but still).
Also on the 5-song EP are two live tracks, which prove that these guys are for real on the live stage, which to me is a huge sign of talent.
Two other new songs join the EP: a classic rock ballad called “Under The Water”, which goes a little over-the-top Kiss-y in the guitar solo for my taste, but Momsen’s vocal and the arrangement behind it create a dreamy, ethereal atmosphere that gets under your skin, and a southern-blues-rock-influenced ditty called “Cold Blooded”, which uses an organ to full effect in a sick solo with the lead guitar, and brings in a male vocal from guitarist Ben Phillips, affecting a solid grungy-blues voice. The harmonies on the latter track are surprisingly intricate and well-done.
If you like the Foo Fighters, any of Jack White’s recent material, or even just the fact that Taylor Momsen’s doing real rock-and-roll when many others in her position sign up with Disney and release dance-pop bores, you’ll love the latest effort from The Pretty Reckless, which this week helps show us that real music is alive and well.