From the outset, The Pretty Reckless’ most recent effort seems to be a perfect rock song. A riff so grungy it could give a nun a heart attack and a video to rival Miley Cyrus’ ‘Wrecking Ball’ in terms of naughtiness shows just how much the New York hard rock four-piece have moved on from their 2010 debut ‘Light Me Up’.
First comes a heavy guitar riff. This is soon joined by a second six-string as gravelly bass quickly rears its head. A bass drum, building anticipation for how Taylor Momsen and her cohorts will sound almost two years after their last release, the ‘Hit Me Like a Man’ EP, completes the fantastic intro to this, the title track from The Pretty Reckless’ forthcoming 2014 album. The distorted, overdriven chords in the verses are considerably heavier and more metal than anything more than they’ve released before, and from this it seems that the band have matured a huge amount during the two years they’ve spent touring.
A small blip that is the repetitive chorus is smoothed over by an excellent post-chorus segment, building in intensity to a well-delivered guitar solo courtesy of Ben Philips, lead guitarist.
The verse lyrics reveal a much darker side to a band that seems to have evolved over recent years and who revel in creating meaning and emotion in their music, the line ‘The devil’s in me father/He’s inside of everything I do’ being a perfect example. Indeed, Momsen stated recently that “I think hell is all around us, at all times; inside us and around us”, proving the difference between the fifteen year-old who wrote ‘Light Me Up’ and the hard rocker of today.
The stripped-down, guitar-heavy sonics continue to the bridge, where chiming guitars enter the fray while the lyrics plead ‘forgive me father’. We’re soon swept out of this, the eye of the storm as it were, into yet another repetition of the chorus – twenty seconds of Momsen telling us that she’s ‘going to hell’. Of course, a memorable refrain is necessary, but by the end of the song even Beelzebub himself would be tired of Taylor’s prophecy.
Frantic cymbals and guitars end the song, until all that’s left is a knowing chuckle from our favourite front woman and the buzz of feedback from overdrive and gain. It’s cathartic. Fantastic, overall, despite the aforementioned chorus hiccup, but that’s forgivable in the end. ‘Going to Hell’ is a gritty song with a message – a rare commodity in today’s world of nudes riding demolition equipment crooning about very little, and if this single is anything to go by, The Pretty Reckless have a fantastic record up their sleeve for next year.