Since the release of debut album Light Me Up in 2010, New York City rock n’ rollers The Pretty Reckless have been growing, not just in popularity, but also in quality. The band were certainly promising enough on aforementioned debut Light Me Up and even more so on follow up album, 2014’s Going To Hell. But it was on The Pretty Reckless’ most recent album proper, 2021’s smash hit Death by Rock and Roll, that proved what the four-piece were truly capable of. Memorable riffs and choruses and simply great song writing and vocals, not to mention a few guest spots from the likes of Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave) and Matt Cameron (Soundgarden, Pearl Jam) helped lift the album to worldwide success and showed that The Pretty Reckless are a very talented band that are here to stay.
Well into 2022, and fortunately we have another release from The Pretty Reckless: Other Worlds. This time however, it’s not an album of brand new songs but instead acoustic versions of their own songs as well as cover versions of other people’s. Which is fair enough considering how busy singer Taylor Momsen and the rest of the band have been during the entire Death By Rock and Roll release/tour cycle. Given the quality of the songs on offer on Other Worlds, this isn’t just some stop-gap release to appease the band’s ever-growing fanbase. It was clearly a labour of love for all involved.
A chilled out remix of the already appropriately chilled out ‘Got So High’ is a nice, fairly low-key start to Other Worlds. Although remix versions don’t always do the songs or bands in question any favours, ‘Got So High’ hasn’t been ruined by over-the-top sounds, and Taylor Momsen’s crystal clear vocals remain intact. Next up is an Other Worlds‘ highlight, an absolutely brilliant, blistering cover of Seattle rock legends Soundgarden’s ‘Loud Love’. Not only is it a great choice of cover by not being an obvious choice of cover (the song being on Soundgarden’s second album, 1989’s Louder Than Love, a couple of years before their breakthrough Badmotorfinger album in 1991), it also serves as a fitting tribute to the late, great Chris Cornell, the Soundgarden vocalist who was also friends with Taylor Momsen. And the band’s version of ‘Loud Love’ isn’t the only nod to The Pretty Reckless’ Soundgarden influence; another big metaphorical musical hug is given to Chris Cornell on his very own song, ‘The Keeper’. Momsen shines on this version; Cornell would be proud.
The Pretty Reckless have said in interviews that Other Worlds gives the band a chance to play songs by the people that have inspired them, and although there may be a few surprises for fans of the more hard rocking side of The Pretty Reckless, solid covers of David Bowie’s ‘Quicksand’ and Elvis Costello’s ‘(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding’, *the former featuring Bowie pianist Mike Garson), prove to have more in common with the softer, more acoustic side of The Pretty Reckless than perhaps some realised, with their acoustic versions of their own songs including ‘Only Love Can Save Me Now’ and ‘Death By Rock and Roll’ showcasing this.
Towards the end of Other Worlds we get another Soundgarden cover in the shape of ‘Halfway There’ which was originally on Soundgarden’s 2012 comeback album King Animal. Featuring drummer Matt Cameron (this time on backing vocals), ‘Halfway There’ is another interesting choice of cover but is no less effective for it. Ending with the original album version of ‘Got So High’ from Death By Rock And Roll , it appears to be the perfect signing off song for Other Worlds, the band giving us a glimpse of what they are capable of in terms of taking risks, and again proving what a talented band they are. It might not be considered a “proper” album in the traditional sense, but Other Worlds proves how lucky we are to have The Pretty Reckless still rocking along with us in 2022.
Other Worlds is released on 4th November from Century Media Records. The Pretty Reckless are touring the UK in October/November.