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51s1YTAzZWL. AA160 Released elsewhere in the world last Fall, THE PRETTY RECKLESS will see the North American release of their debut album LIGHT ME UP this Tuesday. Fronted by actress TAYLOR MOMSEN of GOSSIP GIRL fame (Note: the only thing I’ve ever seen her in is HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS), The Pretty Reckless is everything that a rock band should ever hope to be.

With a voice that sounds well beyond her years (Momsen is only 17), you almost feel dirty when listening to her tales of sex, drugs, love, and life. The bass-driven groove of “Since You’re Gone” provides one of the first glowing moments of the album, following the early single “My Medicine.” With a sultry rasp, Momsen proves capable of fronting a band with mastery.
“Zombie,” one of the earliest tracks by the band to surface online but not included on the album’s European release, is a slow burn, providing breathing room among the fury of the other songs present in the early-mid sections of the album. LIGHT ME UP does slow in its third act, with a pair of ballads (“Nothing Left to Lose” and “You”) making the cut, before ending on a true rocker called “Factory Girl.”

Producer Kato Khandwala (Paramore, Breaking Benjamin, All Time Low) and guitarist Ben Phillips contribute songwriting to the album along with Momsen, adding experienced hands to the band’s debut.

Comparisons to other actress-rockers like Juliette Lewis are already running amok, and while there’s a definite feel of Courtney Love in presentation (corsets, makeup, lingerie), the slice of rock and roll pie is served up so well, that any comparison or similarity becomes forgivable.

LIGHT ME UP is a near-perfect rock record, and an early contender for one of the best releases of 2011.

RATING: 4.5/5 Stars 

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