The Pretty Reckless – Who You Selling For

9 out of 10

The Pretty Reckless are due to release their third studio album, Who You Selling For, on 21st October. Who You Selling For follows the release of Take Me Down, the first single taken from the album. Their previous albums Light Me Up and Going To Hell peaked in the Official UK Album charts at Number 6 and 8 respectively.

The Pretty Reckless is comprised of  Taylor Momsen, who was already well known due to her acting career, as the singer and rhythm guitarist, Ben Phillips on lead guitar, Mark Damon on bass, and Jamie Perkins on drums. The instrumental musicians played together in the band Famous. Each musician is extremely talented at their chosen instrument, however what cements the group together is the balance of each instrument. There is no case of “too much guitar” or “too much bass”, The Pretty Reckless is an awesome blend of instruments and vocals. It’s great to see how they’ve grown together musically since their inception too.

Who You Selling For is The Pretty Reckless‘ most musically explorative album yet. Although their previous album Going Down branched out a little in exploring the rock genre, Who You Selling For incorporates aspects of soul and guitar riffs that were not uncommon in the 70s and 80s. Although a rock singer, Momsen has a surprisingly soulful voice. There are also country influences clear in this album.

The first single released from Who You Selling For is Take Me Down, a rock song that also incorporates soul in the backing vocals and keys. There is a clear riff from the lead guitar that comes back throughout the song, leaving the listener hooked and coming back again and again.

The album starts off heavier than it ends. This guides the fan from their previous material, which is a lot heavier, through their new material which is a lot more musically varied. The album’s opening track The Walls Are Closing In (Hangman) is far too long for an opening track. This track should really be split into two tracks; the introduction and the Hangman part.

The middle of the album, which includes some of their most varied tracks to date, starts to introduce other influences such as soul, jazz and country. In particular Wild City and Back To The River could be argued as completely different genres to The Pretty Reckless‘ usual music. Wild City contains a great instrumental towards the end, which is not just a guitar solo from Phillips but a steady drum beat and bass riff underneath. The rhythm part sounds simple but is deceptively difficult to pull off.

Back To The River has more of country feel than any of their releases to date, not only because of the acoustic guitar and keyboard, but the lyrical content too. However there is a great solo reminiscent of Guns n Roses too. However, Taylor’s voice sounds strained sustaining the longer higher notes towards the end of the track.

Living In The Storm sounds more like their older material, such as Factory Girl from the album Light Me Up, however Momsen‘s vocals are heavier, similar to Follow Me Down from Going To Hell. However, there is more going on in the guitar and drum parts than their previous music, but it doesn’t take the focus away from the vocals. The chord progression also changes in the chorus which hasn’t been seen too often from The Pretty Reckless since Make Me Wanna Die was released.

A recurring theme in this album is a slower bridge section, before launching into a guitar solo. It’s not an unwelcome change for the listener, especially if they appreciate instrumental sections, which this album has plenty of.

This album feels a lot more mainstream than their previous album Going To Hell, which was a lot heavier in comparison. It will gain them a lot of new fans, although it may lose them some of their heavier fans.


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