The Pretty Reckless - Who You Selling For

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The Pretty Reckless, still maligned by purists even after ten years, are the kind of band who go very quiet between albums. They don't bother flooding the internet with a stream of updates during album writing/recording processes, they disappear for a little while after a touring cycle ends to get to work on the next thing. Work on a new album was confirmed in September 2015 after the Carnival of Madness Tour, and then no further updates were issued until April 2016 when the album was complete, and silence again until the first single emerged in July. For such a young band, their willingness to maintain the mystery between audience and band is somewhat refreshing. Who You Selling For is a somewhat less frantic Pretty Reckless. It's not as heavy as most of Going To Hell, lacking the really big riffs, but instead presents a few new sides and influences not heard on either of the two previous albums. Opener The Walls Are Closing In (Hangman) starts out like a piano ballad then slowly builds into some surprising Alice In Chains worship, a sound new to the Pretty Reckless repertoire which Taylor Momsen's rough voice suits very well. The '90s grunge influence continues as the band channel a pacier Nirvana on the short, sharp Oh My God, and later other influences creep in. Modern day Kid Rock would be proud of the southern tinged Back To The River, the verse vocal melodies of lead single Take Me Down owe a lot to Sympathy For The Devil, and the title track feels like recent Bon Jovi. There's a little filler to be found here as well. Early on Prisoner spends three minutes going absolutely nowhere, and Wild City has a tempting groove underpinned by some bluesy leads, but spends its entire nearly-five-minutes feeling like it's building up to something which never arrives, aside from one guitar solo three minutes in. Later, after the title track, delicate ballad Bedroom Window serves as an interlude which signals the start of the slower part of the album until excellent closer Mad Love and its irresistible disco groove. A couple of the tracks in this second half suffer from being too long (especially The Devil's Back, although most of that is Ben Phillips pealing off a blues solo for over three minutes), but the slow blues of Already Dead is the pick. Mad Love itself could be accused of being a bit repetitive, but it's saved by that groove. Who You Selling For shows that The Pretty Reckless have many more strings to their bow, and the good is very good. One or two spells which lack direction aside, this is their most varied release to date.

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2016, Albums, Hard/Heavy Rock, Quickplay Reviews,

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