Anyone still thinking that Taylor Momsen’s band are in anyway some kind of novelty act is not only wrong they’re at least a decade behind on the news. This is a full on rock and roll outfit clad in battered leather jackets and torn denim. They’re as at home on the road playing theaters as they are on a festival bill surrounded by and holding their own with legends of the genre. Their new record features members of some legendary bands as guests who wanted to mark their respect for the young pups holding the line for Road Dogs the world over. When you’ve got members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden on your album you’ve been pretty much crowned the real deal.
2021 sees The Pretty Reckless release their fourth album in just over a decade. On their new single (the third or fourth from the album depending what counts as a single these days) they pull off something of a coup. Tom Morello has played guitar for The Boss, for Chris Cornell in Audioslave for Public Enemy and Cypress Hill on Prophets Of Rage and on his own records as The Nightwatchman and in Street Sweeper Social but history will always know him as Mr Rage Against The Machine.
The other lead tracks from Death By Rock And Roll have all done something different. 25 was a kind of a goth girl Drowning By Numbers torch song come wanna be Bond theme tune. If Lisbeth Salander every got a “Bond, James Bond” title sequence, this should be the song. It’s is a magnificent piece of melodrama and shows real growth for the band. Broomsticks a plinky plonky vignette slipped out around Halloween to pique the interest of the Witchee Poos who couldn’t get out and dress up this year due to, one thing and another. It’s clear though that The Pretty Reckless are at their best when behaving like a red blooded heavy rock band with all that entails. Spiky guitars, foot stops and all. And So It Went is a full blown 80’s heavy metal choon just like Priest, Maiden, Creatures era Kiss and all those legends used to make. Just like the title track of the album the formula seems simple enough, write an Alice Cooper song and play it like you’re Joan Jett fronting Skid Row.
Honestly that’s all I want out of a rock and roll record. The Pretty Reckless hold their own along other scene leaders like Halestorm, Rival Sons and Lucifer for the heavy rock like Ma used to bake vibe.
So to Morello’s contribution, after some spooky sound atmospherics his signature sound gets to meld with TPR’s Dio era Sabbath vibe before making room for apocalyptic lyrics and a ‘lemme see yaw haynds’ chorus. The abrasive guitar of the Rager does a similar thing here to his guest appearance on Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes Tyrant Lizard King. He fits in with the band and brings a signature broken technology sounds solo to the theirs act. Then you get classic Yoof anthem kids chorus stomps to the very logical ending.
Death By Rock & Roll is thin line clever/stupid packaged on a tombstone bearing the legend DxRnR on the albums sleeve. Clasic metal imagery. Only this time Eddie The ‘Ead is replaced by a naked Momsen bearing her cheeks on the tomb.
The more things change…