- 15 Sep 23
The great Pretenders
Relentless, the twelfth long-player from iconic new wave rockers, Pretenders, possesses all the classic hallmarks of a proper rock and roll album.
It was preceded by an extensive tour that combined intimate venues (including Cork’s Cyprus Avenue and Limerick’s Dolan’s Warehouse) with dates supporting Guns N’ Roses and THAT Glastonbury surprise appearance.
In an epic set which saw none other than Macca himself paying homage side stage, the Pretenders blasted through an incredible show where one Johnny Marr hopped up on guitar and Dave Grohl leapt on the drums for a track or two.
Then there is the album’s smashing album sleeve, featuring Irish street artist Solus’ boxing baby mural which can be viewed in the flesh so to speak, on a wall in Dalkey. Complete with split lip, oversized boxing gloves and piratical eye patch, the kid glares out at us, punching above his weight, victorious against all the odds and remaining bloodied but unbowed.
As the initiated will know, Chrissie Hynde, dynamic ringmaster of The Pretenders, has, for nearly five decades, raged on relentlessly via pure 24 carat rock and roll and the title, sleeve, and tour here amount to classic ‘what-it-says-on-the-tin’ stuff.
James Walbourne’s guitar work is exquisite throughout, ranging across bluesy riffs on ‘Domestic Silence’; psychedelic jangle on ‘A Love’; pastoral folk on ‘Your House Is On Fire’; and delightful hair metal on ‘Losing My Sense of Taste’. By album’s end, the fantastic Jonny Greenwood collaboration, ‘I Think About You Daily’, Hynde has pounded out championship distance.
On lead single ‘Let the Sun Come In’, she sings, “We don’t have to fade to black.” And it rings true: her defiance reigns supreme.