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The Pretty Reckless
Who You Selling For
Release Date: October 21, 2016
The Pretty Reckless return with Who You Selling For, their third full length effort. The band really came into their own with Going To Hell, relying more heavily on their roots and instincts than on the commercially viable sound of their debut. Who You Selling For has a little brighter vibe but it’s obvious at this point that Taylor Momsen loves the Blues and Nirvana equally.
Who You Selling For is a strange and beautiful mix of dark and bluesy riff oriented songs and early Grunge Rock derelicts. Overall, it’s much heavier than Going To Hell although not quite as immediately catchy. “Oh My God” embraces those Soundgarden/early Pearl Jam/Nirvana influences the most with almost-but-not-quite out of tune short riffs and a biting, self-depreciating set of lyrics. “Living in the Storm” is another moment of post-Grunge goodness that pays homage to a great time in music while moving the band’s sound forward. It’s Led Zeppelin-esque breakdown is a fascinating juxtaposition to its aggressive bounce. “Take Me Down’s” tribal rhythms are excellent as well. It’s bright and clear sound help it to stand out from the pack a bit and it’s big anthem swagger (tambourines, big leads, sultry vocals, and a great hook) will make you fall in love with it instantly. “Mad Love” is a crazy mix of Soul Train and the Blues with a huge, distorted chorus that devolves into an almost Disco beat. I’m sure this song does not work on paper, but the band bring it to life expertly.
While I love to rock out, the band’s softer side can be pretty interesting as well. The mid-tempo title track is a good example of what I’m talking about. It starts out as a straight up ballad but builds just enough steam to straddle classic Fleetwood Mac. Momsen sounds great on this song, proving that she is capable of much more than just big anthems and blues. It’s coupled with the gentle, acoustic “Bedroom Window” which exhibits a folkier side of the band that we haven’t seen much before.
While I enjoy this album immensely, there is a lot to absorb here. This is far from a one listen album. Each listen reveals another layer and there are more layers here than you’d expect. If you enjoy anything from Soundgarden to Muddy Waters to Christine Kane, you’ll find something about this album (probably more than one thing) to sink your teeth into. Years ago I wrote this band off as “just another hard rock band,” but they have proven themselves to be one of the best things about the modern Rock scene.
Reviewed by mark1340