After breaking onto the scene with a debut album in 2010 and a full US stint opening for Evanescence throughout last year, The Pretty Reckless has returned with a new 5 track EP, Hit Me Like a Man. The band, just in time to announce a series of opening shows for Marilyn Manson, as well as their own headlining tour, unveils three new tracks along with two live songs as performed while in London earlier last year.
The EP is a grungy mix of old-style guitars and rifts, blended with Taylor Momsen’s always powerful and more than impressive vocal talents. From the very beginning this band has introduced an older-influenced style of music, meshing it with the rougher sounds of today’s modern rock to give their fans a taste of what, unfortunately, surrounding bands have seemingly failed to deliver.
As always, “Make Me Wanna Die” delivers. It was a hit when it was released as Light Me Up’s first single, topping the UK Rock charts at number one, and sixteen for singles. It’s an excellent explosion of grunge pop-punk, and in this case, the live version seems to do the band’s obvious talent even more justice. The same can be said for “Since You’re Gone,” both tracks of which I’ve personally seen performed live, and along with the song’s crowd participation, was just as thoroughly impressed by.
The title-track, "Hit Me Like a Man", is an excellent representation of the cleverly depicted guitar parts that this band has always seemed to hit spot-on. It has an immediate hook that presents a style that feels older than this band, but one that they appear to pull of convincingly. Momsen’s lyrics, “Hit me like a man, love me like a woman,” although rough around the edges and expressing the sheer, though necessarily, anger, are followed by a softer sound that with the coarseness of her voice, is a bittersweet but enjoyable change.
Under the water is by far my favorite. As it begins, we’re given a purely acoustic introduction, and the vocals are not only light and easy, but support the emotion that the lyrics portray. The softer sound, although it doesn’t continue throughout the entire track, branches off onto a sound that I’d love to see the band continue in, because Momsen’s voice stripped down in that first twenty seconds or so, is absolutely intriguing. Even as the tempo picks up and the guitars expectedly kick in, Momsen powers the song with her vocals. And although the screeching vocals aren’t anything less than impressive, I would have loved to hear Momsen change it up just a bit and keep it simple throughout the remainder of the song.
There’s a cryptic sort of sound that goes along with “Cold Blooded,” the last track off the EP. It’s endearing, and it’s nice to hear Momsen duet with lead guitarist, Ben Phillips. The two complement each other over the eerie feel of both the song itself and it’s lyrics, and although it’s definitely a step in a different direction for them, it’s a direction that presents not only growth for the band, but one that I’d love to see them continue more of in the future.
Overall, The Pretty Reckless has once again managed to intrigue me. Not only have they kept their uniquely distinguishable sound with this new release, but they’ve managed to do so in a way lets their obvious growth and potential shine through. I’m curious to see what new ground this band can cover, as whatever it is, I’m sure it’ll only continue to impress.
The EP will be available in stores April 3rd, but for now can be bought off both Amazon and iTunes.