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Forget Gossip Girl. Taylor was born to rock
on March 12, 2014
At long last, the new TPR album drops, on the night of a full moon. One can only hope they do not make us wait another three years for the next one. How can I best sum up this band? (For people who don't like long reviews; I understand, you have stuff to do.) Blues-metal magnificence. It's as if Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Janis Joplin all made sweet love and had a scarily awesome baby named The Pretty Reckless. If that is all you need to hear, go buy the album now and enjoy. Everyone else is invited to read on...
The album charges strong out of the gate with "Follow Me Down", a terrifically sleazy blues romp that opens up with porn star Jenna Haze making... a little music of her very own. You crank up the volume to hear her moans and sighs, and then BLAM, the guitar riff slams you in the face (a nice trick, I must say). It's the standout track for me on this record; it is the best rock song I have heard in maybe... 20 years? No joke, folks. Razor and Tie Records: you are FOOLS if you don't release this as a radio single. It will CRUSH the industry.
Second favorite song: "Why'd You Bring a Shotgun to the Party?" Pure swagger, wisdom, and rage. "Sweet Things" is a close shave for third; she lets loose with some brutal howling near the end. A sign of heavier metal things to come? Perhaps. But slower, prettier songs like "House on a Hill" could easily be crossover hits on Top 40 stations, too. "Waiting for a Friend", a welcome dose of light 'n sweet, will make you wish you were that friend for whom she's waiting.
One might be tempted, given the tender age of the frontwoman (she was only 15 or 16 when the band formed in '09), to dismissively label this band as pop-rock. They are not. This insanely gorgeous girl can SING, and write songs, too. And I am here to testify to you, my people, as a lifelong devotee of all things aggro and metal: these songs legitimately rock, and rock hard. (As do all the songs from their previous releases, Light Me Up and Hit Me Like A Man, which you should buy immediately if you don't own them.) This band is not a vanity project for a pretty starlet; this is not She & Him, nor Juliette & the Licks. This is not 30 Seconds to Mars. This is a cadre of a$$kickers fronted by a natural-born siren who is only starting to come into her own. They are as serious as a heart attack and as potentially lethal to the unprepared.
As for our lady Taylor's sultry, smoky alto voice: it is a revelation. Her hypnotically husky purr (Anne Rice would call it a butterscotch growl) sounds like it must surely be coming out of someone else's body. You almost have to see her sing live to believe it is really HER belting this stuff out. It is the voice of an old soul crooning through a nubile host. The result is both intoxicating and disquieting. The acoustic tracks on Going to Hell literally gave me chills; again, it is like Janis has been reborn, darkly drawn.
Rock has been waiting for a standard bearer, a blazing symbol around whom we can rally, to rise up and take it all back. Could you be our Joan of Arc, Taylor? No pressure, kid; just shrug the weight of the world off of those slender shoulders and go kick it like it's your job. 'Cuz it is... and it's a job that you are very, very good at.
Rock on, Reckless!! I hope you go pentuple platinum. ;-}>