Emerging in 1978, The Pretenders are a Rock-n-Roll band oozing with history. Led by Chrissie Hynde, an American musician who spent time in England around the Punk Rock scene that included the Sex Pistols, Clash, and The Damned, The Pretenders are the product of hard work and wonderfully crafted songs.
Featuring a name inspired by The Platters’ 1955 “The Great Pretender,” The Pretenders’ 1979 hit “Brass in Pocket” was an enchanted carpet ride that launched them headlong into the stratosphere of the music world. From here, the band experienced a whirlwind journey to fame. One which found them achieving numerous other hits – including 1982’s “Back on the Chain Gang,” 1986’s “Don’t Get Me Wrong,” and 1994’s “I’ll Stand by You” – The Pretenders are Rock and Roll Hall of Famers through and through.
Decades later, the interlocking hearts that comprise this group are none other than Hynde as lead vocal/rhythm guitarist along with Drummer/Vocalist Martin Chambers. Joining them, you have the steady lineup of Bassist Nick Wilkinson, Guitarist James Walbourne, as well as Keyboardist Carwyn Ellis, and they return in 2023 with the new album Relentless. The Pretenders’ 12th studio album, Hynde and her band rolled up their musical sleeves to hop into the studio gym to get into boxing form.
Released on September 15th through Rhino Records, the new material was forged by Hynde and Walbourne who joined forces as songwriting partners. A period of brainstorming ensued and eventually an amazing lineup of twelve shiny new songs came together for just under fifty minutes of music.
Looking at how it all was plotted; the first left hook was released on May 11th in the form of the guitar infused single “Let the Sun Come In.” An upbeat piece with an enchanting riff, it feels nothing less than empowering. This is while other songs such as “Losing My Sense of Taste” is like walking directly into a rainbow hued psychedelic swirl that turns louder before softening so that you can lose yourself in it all. From here other standouts include the flirty, edgy “A Love,” as well as the amplified “Domestic Silence” featuring guitar solos that weave in and out of a drowning steady beat.
In enough words, it seems as if the stars in the heavens aligned perfectly and destiny took over for Relentless. Well-written and laid out, the songs are the true champion here. That in mind, to ensure they kept their remaining contenders in Rock-n-Roll, Hynde and The Pretenders did some extensive touring in 2023 to promote the new album. Now with 2023 winding down, they will continue with some European touring in March of 2024. Showing that experience and talent reigns over anything else, even in this modern world of shininess, Cryptic Rock gives Relentless 5 out of 5 stars.