The Pretty Reckless

Light Me Up

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

At their best, the Pretty Reckless are just the right band to combine the dirty blues swagger of White Stripes with the acidic guitar rasp of Shellac, but even at their most conventional, they are a very good unit worth describing with excited expletives. The two opening cuts are the most delicious in that regard, packing plenty of grooves and plenty of heaviness -- and "Since You're Gone" is the best female-fronted metal answer to Led Zeppelin out there, as powerful and venomous as Zepp's own "Since I've Been Loving You" was mellow and rambling. After that, the band retreats into safer alt/nu-metal territory, returning to the blues only for the two final songs (one of which is actually a country-fied ballad), but even there, they are still good -- more ferocious than average radio rockers, and with better pop savvy, too. A lot of riffs on Light Me Up can actually be traced back to other bands, from Deep Purple to Hole to Metallica to Smashing Pumpkins, and there are even ten seconds of Queen theatrics on "Goin' Down," with a degree of certainty sufficient to stand a court trial. The group appropriates those theatrics completely, integrating them into their loud, cocksure, arrogant, and irresistible brand of heavy rock. Taylor Momsen plays a role, too, coming across as the strongest and bitchiest female vocalist to front an alt-rock band since Garbage's Shirley Manson, whose group, while not a direct influence, also seems to have taught Pretty Reckless a thing or two about how to use everything you like in music to write loud, catchy, lasting pop songs. If the band had explored their bluesy leanings more, Light Me Up could have been a small-scale revolution, but even as it stands now, it's still a wicked good record.

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