Review: Who You Selling For

New York rock band The Pretty Reckless have returned with their latest full length record, only a two years since the release of their album Going To Hell.  Hype for Who You Selling For started to build with the release of the first single – you can watch the video for Take Me Down here:

To me, this track was less heavy than the band’s previous releases and had some pop and even country vibes, so it definitely piqued my interest to hear what the rest of the album would sound like.

Immediately Who You Selling For takes a surprising turn, starting out with the piano-led introduction to The Walls Are Closing In/Hangman.  However the track quickly picks up with a lot of emphasis on bass guitar and the bass drum, and layered backing vocals give the track an atmospheric, grungy feel.

My impression that this album could end up sounding more pop than previous records was shattered by the second track, Oh My God, with its impressive guitar-led introduction and vocalist Taylor’s gravelly voice layered overtop.  The worry that The Pretty Reckless are turning into a pop band, thankfully, seem unfounded.  However, there are definitely country and blues elements to be found throughout Who You selling For, and these are most apparent on tracks such as acoustic-guitar led Back To The River.

Some of the songs that really stand out from the rest include the fantastic bassy groove of Prisoner, the riff heavy Wild City, and the chilled out Bedroom Window.  This record is made up of a strong collection of songs, most of which have enough individuality to stand out from the rest.  This mix forces the audience to really pay attention to what each song has to say.

Lyrically, to me, the album seems to take a lot of influence from more classic rock and metal.  Taylor sings about religion, young women heading to “the big city” and trying to avoid the vices and temptation there, and making deals with the devil.

To conclude, I reckon that fans of The Pretty Reckless will be pleased with the band’s lyrical maturity and progression of their sound over the past couple of years.  Sometimes I find it hard to believe that Taylor Momsen is only two years older than me, because her lyrics and rough-around-the-edges voice may suggest she’s older to those who know nothing about the band.  There’s definitely more to Who You Selling For than meets the eye, and I look forward to listening to the record a few more times to pick up on anything I missed the first time around.

Highlights: Oh My God, Prisoner, Living In The Storm, The Devil’s Back

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