Los Angeles five-piece Prima Donna may look like they could be the offspring of Mötley Crüe, but their unashamedly retro sound has more in common with the punk, glam, and garage rock of the '70s than the hair metal of the '80s. Their third album, Bless This Mess, pilfers from the likes of the Sex Pistols, T. Rex, and the Ramones in much the same unapologetic manner as the Darkness did with the same era, as evident on the snarling, attitude-laden "Let the Games Begin," the chugging bass-heavy "Feral Children," and the no-frills rock & roll of "Puta, Te Amo" (sample lyric: "I'll be your son of a bitch/And you'll be my Jezebel"). But for all their authentic pomp and swagger, Prima Donna are always going to come off second best when trying to imitate such legends, and despite the best efforts of charismatic frontman Kevin Preston and Aaron Minton's uplifting sax solos, the majority of its 12 tracks fall into pub rock tribute act territory, particularly the likes of the three-chord honky tonk of "Crimson Lust," which could be mistaken for Status Quo at their most plodding, and the unconvincing forays into '60s Brit-pop on "Broken" and "Tryin'." Ironically, they show much more potential when they embrace a more modern-day direction, such as the anthemic opener "Sociopath," which combines the early pop-punk of Green Day (whose engineer, Chris Dugan, features here as producer) with the laddish mod-rock of Kaiser Chiefs, and the Dandy Warhols-esque "wooh-ooh" harmonies of psychedelic closer "She Says." It's difficult not to admire Prima Donna's confidence, but Bless This Mess proves that as of yet, the band doesn't really have the tunes to back it up.
AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien