So, I’ve had a bit of an up and down relationship with THE PRETTY RECKLESS. And that’s simply because they have a ton of talent, but they don’t always maximize it where they should. And of the two times I went to see them live, once they looked disinterested the whole time, and the other they came, saw, and conquered. Which is the real band?? Last album Going to Hell was a monster home run for me, so I looked ahead with cautious optimism. New disc Who You Selling For (out now, Razor & Tie) is quite good in places, and while it doesn’t even come close to the sheer emotional power of the last one, it is a decent follow-up.
“Oh My God” and “Living In the Storm” bring plenty of bombast and angst, and first single “Take Me Down” quickly turned into one of my favorites on the record with its percussive nuances and the way it builds up to that hook. “Wild City” is rooted in that 70’s soul sound, and Taylor Momsen does some of her best vocal work on this number. That stellar performance continues with “Back to the River” featuring Warren Haynes’ amazing slide guitar lines that could melt an ice sculpture in 30 seconds flat. Title track “Who You Selling For” is something beautiful that is another favorite every time I put this album on.
Now before you think this is becoming an all-out lovefest, understand that opener “The Walls Are Closing In/Hangman” is one of my least favorite tunes on the disc. What they were going for here I don’t know. And at 6:37 in length it’s pretty trying. What I DO know is that it failed to connect with me in any way, so I usually skip it. Slow, bluesy track “Already Dead” also didn’t thrill me either. I usually love tunes like it, just not this time. It felt kind of forced, and pales in comparison to most of the other songs.
However, seven-minute epic “The Devil’s Back” is another high point of the record. Here the band lets it all hang out, channeling their inner PINK FLOYD where it counts, right down to Ben Phillips’ fluid David Gilmour-like solos that have shades of “Another Brick In the Wall (Part 1)” in them. All in all (see what I did there?) this is a pretty good record from THE PRETTY RECKLESS. And while Who You Selling For probably won’t make my Top Albums list for 2016, there is some terrific songwriting at times that makes it surely worth a listen.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “The Devil’s Back”, “Who You Selling For”, “Take Me Down”, “Back to the River”, “Wild City”