Some days I worry about the future of Rock and then a band comes along and puts my mind at rest. This happens once every couple of years, and it would seem that this year the honours go to The Pretty Reckless.
I have to thank my daughter Ashlee for introducing me to the bastardization, and bad ass modification of Cindi Lou Who. Taylor Momsen, the actress that became sort of famous after playing the classic character in the Jim Carey acted version of The Grinch That Stole Christmas, is the primary vocalist of this band. She'd done her home work, and knows Rock. I've only listened to this album a few times, but it impressed me quickly.
The rest of the band is made up of Ben Phillips, Mark Damon, and Jamie Perkins. This album also features other performers, but the most important is Kato Khandwala, who co-wrote and played guitar on every track, as well as produced the album.
The album opens up with My Medicine, which is a great opening track. It stomps, romps, and breathes really hard. This song is one of those tracks that reminds you that girls can in fact sing big, bad, hard edged Rock. I'm going to refer to many female singers as a comparison as I go along, but make sure to keep in mind that this band is just as important as the vocalist.
When I read the title Since You're Gone, I cringe and panic that I'm already getting a ballad. Then the song starts and I'm never going to worry again. First off the bass is wickedly well played. It just thunders the entire song and drives it all. It's wicked cool. The guitars do what Rock guitars are supposed to do, they play these almost fill like riffs, and the vocalist commands your attention.
Make Me Wanna Die has a very Goth like edge that's pretty bad ass. In fact this song is so interestingly well done I don't have the foggiest idea on who to compare it to. Which scores some major points with me.
Light Me Up is the first song on the album that sounds a little different. Up until this point most tracks sound "Bif Naked rocking out" inspired, but this one sounds Sheryl Crow. A bit like My Favourite Mistake, but I enjoy this one more. The music is more dynamic and full. There's a flavour to it that's just so much more real than you often hear in music these days.
You can tell that you've gotten into the middle of the album. It's not like these tracks are fillers. They are the more experimental tracks. Experiemental meaning that they have a different vibe and feel from the core of the album.
The song Zombie for example is pretty pounding and yet trippy. I find it a little heavy on the double bass drum, but other than that, it has a minor pschedelic vibe to the background guitars. I find the foreground music to be a bit grinding, and overdone. This is the only song that I don't care for the production.
Alright every Rock album has to have that one song that I bitch about being a pussy song and blah, blah, blah, and Just Tonight is this album's. It starts off sounding all Avril Lavigne, and then switches to one of those Post Grunge Power Ballads. Actually I think this song would sound more at home on a Pink album, and that isn't meant as dig at the song. I dig Pink enough to have the right respect for her. I just don't care for the style of the song.
The album picks back up with Miss Nothing. This is a fast paced number that reminds me of Hole circa Celebrity Skin. Except this song has a heavy ass rhythm section, that has me thinking of Taylor Momsen stomping around on stage in a pair of Doc Martins that are covered in a layer of Courtney Love's blood, spit and teeth. Okay, that may be an over exaggeration, but I think Taylor could kick the shit out of Courtney on her best day.
Then all of a sudden the band is channeling Motorhead. There's this big crazy thundering at that beginning, that turns into lyrical content that would have Lemmy rockin out. "Hey there, Father / I don't wanna bother you / But I've got a sin to confess / I'm just 16 if you know what I mean / Do you mind if I take off my dress? / Don't know where to start / Let me get to the good parts / Might wanna cross up your legs / I've got envy, I've got greed, anything that you need / And I'm not above having to beg / There was this boy who tore my heart in two / I had to lay him eight feet underground / All I need is someone to save me / Cause I am goin' down / And what I need is someone to save me / Cause I am goin' down, all the way down / Well, hey there, Father / There is just one other thing / I have a simple request / I hear you know God could you give him a nod in my direction / I would be in your debt / Perhaps there is something that we could work out / I noticed your breathing is starting to change / We could go in the back behind all these stacks of bibles / And get out of this cage / There was this boy who tore my heart in two / I had to lay him eight feet underground / All I need is someone to save me / Cause I am goin' down / And what I need is someone to save me / Cause God, I'm goin' down, all the way down / I didn't wanna do it, Father / But I caught him with another woman in the bed I made him / So I put him in a grave / And now there's no one left around to get me off / When I want it to drag / The next day on the television they identified him / By the circumsicion that I made and now I'm on the run / But wait, why did I have to go and kill him / When he was the best I'd ever had / All I need is someone to save me / Cause I am goin' down / And what I need is something to save me / Cause God, I'm goin' down, all the way down / I'm goin' down / All the way down". I mean this song is bad ass Rock. This is one of those songs that will be on my CD player, and if I were playing in a band I'd want to cover. I'd put it after the actual ending Overkill, just for extra effect.
My first reaction to Nothing Left To Lose was, "Shit, she went Avril." I think was mainly because of the track it follows. However, that didn't last long. For starters the song is too well put together musically. It's not just some girl singing over a strummed accoustic guitar, and it's not that school girl, broken hearted, song. This one is much more raw. It reminds me of David Bowie, and lyrically conjures images that are simular to Rock And Roll Suicide.
The song You, which is next, is even softer than the last track and reminds me of Sheryl Crow in the years I wasn't paying attention to her, but could respect and understand what she was doing.
Factory Girl sounds exactly like a song by that title should sound. This is another track that's going on my Mp3 player as well. Once again reminding me that Rock is still alive. This band knows how to play, and they know how to write a good song. This song has more balls than anything Motley Crue has done since Dr. Feelgood, and is twice the naughty lyrical content of Girls, Girls, Girls. This song is like Aerosmith playing with Black Sabbath's heaviness, and if it was Steven Tyler singing this one it would have a totally different meaning especially with this chorus. "Wait a minute girl, can you show me to the party? / I said wait a minute girl, can you show me to the party? / Please let me in through the backdoor / Just let me in through the backdoor, baby / Just let me in through the backdoor, just let me in / Wait a minute girl, can you show me to the party?" Now think of that played to the musical idea of Paranoid, and you might get a bit of an idea.
Out of the eleven tracks on this album, I would have to say that there's only two that I don't really care for, maybe three. Which is pretty typical for an album. What isn't typical is that there are at least four tracks that I really dig and can foresee being on my mp3 player for quite a while.
My biggest complaint about this album is that eventually my daughter will go and put it in her collection, and then I won't get to hear some of these songs on the home stereo system as much. This is a really well done album, and I would suggest checking it out. Especially if you like Seventies Classic Rock.
7/10 - content
7/10 - production
8/10 - personal bias