‘The Pretty Reckless’ is featured in the ‘Kerrang’ magazine january issue. Back in 2010, the band has previously featured on may’s issue. This time the magazine did a review from the epic Manchester Academy concert (December 14th).
The Pretty Reckless
Taylor Momsen and co. Disprove the cynics in Manchester.
Following in the footsteps of Jared Leto and Juliette Lewis, Taylor Momsen is the latest screen star to trade acting for a stint at rocking out. It’s easy to be cynical about this. The Gossip Girl connection has provided an instant audience and guaranteed media hype. She’s backed by a bunch of hired hands who are twice her girth and not quite twice her age (she’s only 17), and who also have their own band, Famous. It’s debatable as to whether The Pretty Reckless are a real band or merely a vehicle for Taylor Momsen’s career, but cut the peripheral bullshit and the real questions are there: are they any good and can they cut it live? The answer, it turns out, is a resounding yes on both counts.
Before the headliners present the evidence for the defense, Francesqa present their own flawlessly-manicured brand of soaring, melodic pop-rock. Slicker than a snake oil salesman but loaded with easy hooks and perfectly executed harmonies, songs like Years and Move Your Hands smile pleasantly but take hold like a virulent infection.
As Miss Momsen takes to the stage and her band start to grind out the skuzzy rock riffs, howling licks and pulsing rhythms that inform opener Since You’re Gone, it soon becomes apparent that she doesn’t bring the same manic intensity to the role as Juliette Lewis. Instead she totters around on high heels, displays her ubiquitous stocking tops to the boys and girls in the front and declares how, like, awesome it is to be here. The stagecraft could be improved but, Beelzebub on a bike, the girl can sing. Removed from the studio, where a good enough producer can always polish a turd and pass it off as a diamond, Taylor retains a powerful, strident singing voice and adds a raw, smoky rasp when required.
It’s an edge that is frequently applied. Song like the rampant Goin’ Down and the pounding My Medicine might boast large, serrated hooks, but they’ve also got dirt under their nails, falling somewhere between Hole and the simplistic ‘80s rock thump of Joan Jett And The Blackhearts. With a limited repertoire of their own material to draw on they could have made this a short, sharp shock, but instead they weave in a bunch of covers, including Audioslave’s Like A Stone and a snippet of Time is Running Out by Muse. It might be padding but they make each song their own, adding to the sense of occasion, and over the course of the set, The Pretty Reckless manage to kick most cynical thoughts into touch.