It has been four years since The Pretty Reckless released their first full-length album, and Going To Hell is the follow-up to that wholly successful album. The band have really shot to fame from the get-go due to their frontwoman Taylor Momsen’s previous acting fame, and any questions asked about how well she’d do were quelled quickly as The Pretty Reckless have nailed themselves in as mainstays of the current hard rock scene. Because of this, there was a lot of anticipation and expectation for this new release.
The album kicks off quickly with my favourite track off the album, ‘Follow Me Down’. The song is very typical of The Pretty Reckless, blending in their hard rock and very light grunge vibes that stem from Momsen’s signature vocals. It is a clear indication of the style that the band are going for: they don’t intend to sit around and make a mediocre album, they mean business. Any questions asked about the direction of this album are nullified when they follow it up with the title track off the album, ‘Going To Hell’, which they released as their latest single from the album. Once again it is fast-paced, heavy and catchy, and it is definitely a song you’d catch yourself nodding your head and tapping your feet to. Heck, I could even imagine this playing over a high speed car chase in a blockbuster movie.
Songs such as ‘Heaven Knows’ slows down the tempo of the fast kick into The Pretty Reckless’s hard rock style, introducing the band’s more classic rock influences. The song goes for catchy rather than technical, sticking to one basic riff the whole way through and a chorus that complements it well. The extremes of their switch from a heavier style to a softer one really change the mood of the album with tracks that incorporate acoustic guitars for the majority of the song, most notably ‘House on a Hill’ and ‘Burn’ – the latter being kept simplistic with just a guitar and singing. Whether they are meant to or not, these songs do a good job of splitting the album up into different sections, giving the listener time to refresh their ears before the next set.
The album ends on a high note, with a beautifully performed acoustic track named ‘Waiting For A Friend’, which like the previous acoustic tracks mentioned, ties up another part of the album, one which has been trenchant and cutting in its style, blunt, forceful and true to the style that The Pretty Reckless have become famous for.
As the album draws to a close, the finished product seems to become more appreciable. The songs as single entities are catchy and are all good enough to be stand alone songs, but when the album is considered as a whole it becomes something much more likeable, memorable and meaningful, something which a lot of bands struggle to achieve when releasing LPs. It is clear to see throughout that The Pretty Reckless have drawn new influences from far and wide within the rock scene, but at the same time have done a good job of incorporating these into their own house style. Going To Hell has an inspired balance between fast-paced, adrenaline-fuelled songs with slick and heavy guitars throughout and powerful vocals, and slow, grungey riffs that shake the spine and terrifically haunting vocals from Momsen. The songs that the album have released as singles really slide into the album well, not leaving them as stand-out ‘better’ songs so to speak, but actually working in tandem with other tracks to create a very strong track listing. It is an album I’d implore anyone to check out!