Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy
19

Music Review

The Pretty Reckless: 'Light Me Up'

By
The Pretty Reckless 'Light Me Up'
Released on Monday, Aug 30 2010

Ah, what to say about actress-turned-singer Taylor Momsen? For one thing, there's that fabulous surname - we await a collaboration with Marcus Mumford (billed as Momsen & Mumford & Sons, naturally) with bated breath. For another, while it's definitely not cricket to mock anyone's God-given appearance, it's also hard to keep a straight face when someone intentionally chooses to dress themselves as a skinny panda. Best of all, there's the regular po-faced announcements about "pop" and "rock". We've all been there. Some of us might even have invoked the phrase "real music" in our more callow days, while gripping copies of Definitely Maybe and Parklife to our spindly chests. Luckily for us, we didn't have some greasy hack immortalising our words for us to wince at in years to come. Of course, the battlefield of the genre wars moved on from the minor rock/pop scuffle decades ago. Since then, there's been fisticuffs between pop/hip-hop/dance/electronica/metal/emo et al, before a sensible period of détente occurred. Now, we know that music is music, and we're all winners (yes, even the goths).

Not that you'd realise from this debut album, so strictly does it adhere to the classic "rock" rulebook, despite its wipe-clean sheen. The arrangements, production and songwriting could have come straight out of the mid-to-late '90s. It's all crunchy guitars, echo-free rhythm and too-clean separation between the instruments. What about the voice? Well, it's actually not bad at all. Openers 'My Medicine' and 'Since You're Gone' recall Karen O, though sadly without the brilliant manic squealing. Much as she might reject the comparison, on 'Just Tonight', single 'Miss Nothing' and 'Nothing Left To Lose', Momsen reminds you of a certain Ms Love. Meanwhile, title track 'Light Me Up' actually sounds just like Sophie Ellis-Bextor's pre-'Groovejet' Camden indie-pop outfit theaudience, which is no bad thing.

Better still, along with the decent vocals and tidy-enough backing from the Recklessblokes, there's a clutch of melodies across Light Me Up which show that for all the rock/pop squabbling, Momsen and co. understand that most great songs rely on having something whistleable to win people over. Of course, there's still plenty of rockin' going on, and the energetic 'Make Me Wanna Die' and 'Goin' Down' boast enough bouncy energy to back up Momsen's leather-wearing credentials.

And the words? Well, Momsen recently noted that Heidi Montag was happy to sing "a song that a nine-year-old wrote" in performing one of her own pre-teen tracks. Light Me Up, unsurprisingly, is very much the work of a teenage girl, with everything that comes along with that. There's rebellion ("Does what I'm wearing seem to shock you?"... "I'm just 16 if you know what I mean / Do you mind if I take off my dress?"), hangovers ("There's a tiger in the room and a baby in the closet"), nihilism 101 ("I'm Miss Autonomy/ Miss Nowhere") and no-one-bloody-understanding-you ("Since you hate everything I feel"). It's silly, but like the album as whole, you can't say it's not 4Real. Heck, on a few brief occasions, like 'Just Tonight' and Britpoppy closer 'You', it's even genuinely touching. Whisper it, but when Miss Momsen inevitably stops worrying about having to ROCK so damn hard, we could well have a proper popstar in the making here.

You May Like

Comments

Loading...