ALBUM REVIEW: The Pretty Reckless showcase a rawer side of rock and roll on ‘Other Worlds’

Posted on 6 November 2022
By Danielle Kerr
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The Pretty Reckless need no introduction. Since frontwoman Taylor Momsen left Hollywood in 2010 to focus on her music career, the rock four-piece have made history as the first-ever female-fronted band to have back-to-back number one singles in the active rock format. Their previous record, ‘Death by Rock and Roll’, wasted no time in achieving the top spot on Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart and it also featured some truly spectacular collaborations (Matt Cameron, Kim Thayil and Tom Morello). Knowing how the band continuously push boundaries, it comes as no surprise that their latest record, ‘Other Worlds’, introduces a deeper, rawer side to the genre they have perfected whilst sticking to their vision of being fearless musicians. It’s this unrestricted sense of self that has fuelled ‘Other Worlds’, a compilation of reimagined hits and covers where they deliver their first proper acoustic recordings as the band step dauntlessly into unknown territory once more.

Opening with hushed vocals that lull you into a dream-like state, ‘Got So High’ showcases Momsen’s strong vocal abilities. The ‘90s pop-influenced opener, which is accompanied by intricate piano melodies, contrasts the rendition that closes the record as the latter features more instrumental components that hint at the adrenaline high that comes with fame.

Featuring their most popular tracks from its predecessor, ‘25’ and ‘Harley Darling’ highlight vulnerability through Momsen’s outstanding vocals. The dramatic piano keys in ‘25’ amplify the emotive ballad whereas the melodramatic treatment of ‘Harley Darling’ takes on a country-like tone that could lull you into a peaceful sleep. Her raspy vocals unveil a deeper meaning to both tracks, ones that touch on how rock and roll influenced Momsen’s life as well as the loss of loved ones, and the stripped-back acoustics let the vocals, rightfully so, take the spotlight.

Taking part in Fearless Records’ livestream series during the pandemic, The Pretty Reckless teased some acoustic renditions in the lead-up to the release of the record. The melancholic track, ‘Only Love Can Save Me Now’, stands out despite being so simple as, instrumentally, it’s reduced to basics that allow Momsen’s voice to be the focal point yet again.

Despite being a great record, ‘Other Worlds’ can’t help but feel like a way of placating fans until the band have something new to release. While they’ve succeeded in releasing an album that’s emotive and touches on each members talent, it’s almost like a scrapbook of their writing sessions and a homage to their musical inspirations. It covers what music is about. It explores new avenues, takes unknown paths and does what many would label impossible, but is it going to pay off? Is it a risk worth taking or will fans beg for more?

The Pretty Reckless’ fifth album ‘Other Worlds’ is out now.