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Album Review: The Pretty Reckless – Death By Rock And Roll

Artist: The Pretty Reckless
Album: Death By Rock And Roll
Label: Century Media Records / Sony Music Australia
Release Date: February 12th 2021
Reviewed By Hayley Treadwell

New Album Friday is always exciting, but today I am super excited that we get the latest release from The Pretty Reckless, ‘Death By Rock And Roll’.  

Fronted by the amazing Taylor Momsen, The Pretty Reckless have had numerous previously released songs hit no. 1 on the US Rock Chart.  And with this album’s title track ‘Death By Rock And Roll’, they did it again.  Featuring Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil and Matt Cameron, this song has a rock anthem feel to it and certainly deserves its place at No. 1.  

In fact, if this album is anything to go by, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see these guys have more No. 1’s in the future.

There is a lot more emotional maturity in this album, Momsen with her mix of throaty screams and melodic tones has really bought a new level and deepness in her lyrics, and the band are just flawless.

When I listen to the album I get influences from the likes of The Eagles, The Rolling Stones and some classic 90’s grunge which is felt on  ‘Only Love Can Save Me Now’, thought to be inspired by the late Chris Cornell.  A loss felt very closely by the band who were on tour with Cornell at the time of his passing.

There is definitely a degree of sadness and reflection in this album and perhaps an underlying tone of loneliness, which is not surprising given the heartbreaking loss of the bands manager and Momsen’s best friend Kato Khandwala in 2018.   The final track on the album ‘Harley Darling’, with its beautiful country sound, is most certainly a song about this loss. 

There is a growth to the band, the lyrics and their sound and it was evident from the first single release.

‘25’ and ‘And So It Went’ are the 2 other single releases from this album and are both great in their own right.  ‘25’ gave us our first taste of what we could likely expect from this album.  It’s a little darker than the rest of the album yet fits so perfectly. I love the kids backing vocals and the bridge on ‘And So It Went’, but I love the message.  Take back your power and own it. 

‘My Bones’ is the next new treat for our ears and I can just picture the opening riff of this song being played to open a tour.  It’s a bold and beasty song and I cannot get enough of Momsen’s screams into the chorus, that’s where the beastliness is.  For me this is my favorite musical song on the album. The power and the feel of the song just resonate through every part of me

From here the album seems to take a softer turn, but I love that they can go from a No. 1 rock song to a ballad that leaves you with shivers.  That’s how I felt when I first heard ‘Got So High’.  Such a beautifully sad rock ballad. 

A few songs on and we get another beautiful and powerful rock ballad ‘Standing At The Wall’.  This song left me in tears.  I think it’s one of the most emotionally gripping songs I have heard in a very long time, which seems to touch on depression and possibly anxiety. Not always an easy topic to tackle, but The Pretty Reckless do it flawlessly and with dignity.  

‘Witches Burn’ and ‘Turning_Gold’ both come back to that grungy feel with bold guitar licks with great grooves and some killer solos accompanying the angrier, edgier vocals.  And the ‘Broomsticks’ interlude into ‘Witches Burn’ is just perfect! 

‘Rock And Roll Heaven’ is like a big thank you for the inspiration given to us from those in the artistic world we lost at just 27, Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison, Cobain and Winehouse to name just a few from the very long list.  The song also seems to serve as a reminder to be grateful for what we are given in this life.  With Momsen currently being 27, the song takes on even more meaning.

All in all, I cannot fault this album.  I love the directional changes and the emotional journey the lyrics take us on and I think the music is the best we have seen so far from the band who I hope has a lot more to bring us in the future.

It was a great gift to be able to review this album, big thanks to The Pretty Reckless.


Death By Rock And Roll
Only Love Can Save Me Now
And So It Went
My Bones
Got So High
Witches Burn
Standing At The Wall
Rock And Roll Heaven
Harley Darling

Hear2Zen Magazine
Hear2Zen is a "Non Genre Specific" publication that celebrates all things sensory.

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