Sometimes it’s good to listen to a band without knowing a thing about them. A couple years back I heard Light Me Up, the debut album from The Pretty Reckless and loved it. Great female fronted dirty hard rock. It was months later that I discovered the singer was Taylor Momson an actress from Gossip Girl. At the time she was doing the typical Hollywood actress getting older routine of fighting with her Mom and showing her tits for no reason. Thankfully I missed all that drama and got to enjoy the album and liked it so much I bought their follow up EP Hit Me Like A Man. So I was looking forward to their new offering Going To Hell.
Listening to Going To Hell you realize that Taylor Momson is not just another actress cashing in on her fame by making an album. Lindsay, Hillary, I’m looking at you. She is in fact a rock singer. She has a real good sound that borders on the gritty with a hint of blues potential. Sort of if Sass Jordan was a Mouseketeer. The band cranks out some quality hard rock here. Kicking down the door with “Follow Me Down” and the title track, you know that this is not a pop record. They get heavier on “Sweet Things” a blistering track that has some creepy counter vocals by guitarist Ben Phillips. “Why’d You Bring A Shotgun To The Party?” wins for best song title and best song. Very slinky riff that is unavoidable with a chorus to beat.
Interesting is the amount of slow songs/ballads on here. Probably could have done without several of them. “Burn” is a standout and is just Taylor singing along with an acoustic guitar. The simplicity of it works so well that you don’t mind it’s under two minutes long. “Waiting For A Friend” has a classic sound that Rolling Stones/Guns N Roses fans will recognize. The slides on the acoustic along with the harmonica are timeless alongside her smoldering voice. Now depending on what version you buy there are two more acoustic tracks. “Going To Hell” and “Sweet Things” get the acoustic makeover. Taylor and Ben do a great job of remaking the songs not just simply performing them on an acoustic. “Going To Hell” is about the half the length and the guitar has a definite Johnny Cash feel to them. Curious that “Sweet Things” was chosen for the redo since it is the heaviest track but they do it well. Now the riff does sound just like the acoustic version of Winger’s “Down Incognito” but it still works. Plus Ben’s vocals have a more sinister sound to them here.
All in all Going To Hell is another success for The Pretty Reckless. Granted there are some missteps and they could have chopped off a track or two. But it shows the growth of the band. More importantly you see the growth of Taylor Momson as a singer and songwriter. It’s that growth that makes you want to hear what is next.
Final rating, I’d be happy paying…
$14.99-Regularly Priced CD
$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon
$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale
$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop
$0-Not worth the drive space