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Chrissie Hynde had been working on solo project with the Black Key’s Dan Auerbach in his Nashville studio, when it dawned that those driving guitars, ragged-but-righteous arrangements, the tough yet tender lyrics delivered by the most distinctive voice of a generation sounded fantastically familiar. Ultimately, this could only mean one thing: Pretenders were back.
And this wasn’t a cynical brand reboot, more a happy accident. Chrissie Hynde shrugs, still as cool as the other side of the pillow. “These things happen. It’s just a name.”
Thirty six years after Pretenders’ first album, the new album Alone could be the older, wiser, badder sister to their exhilarating debut. It’s that good.
“It’s a riot,” announces Chrissie Hynde, “I am blown away myself. I really am. Every time I hear it, it just makes me laugh. To me if you are laughing it is rock and roll. I don’t know how we achieved it but it sounds classic. I guess the team just went out and scored some goals.”
The team, approvingly described by Hynde as “real people playing real instruments”, features Johnny Cash’s former bass player Dave Roe and country rocker Kenny Vaughan on guitar plus sundry members of Dan Auerbach’s side project The Arcs: Richard Swift on drums, Leon Michels on keyboards, and Russ Pahl providing sly curlicues of pedal steel.
Auerbach stood as captain, producer, multi-instrumentalist – he unleashes some outlandish electric guitar - and all round cool head, and the album was mixed by Tchad Blake, whom Hynde says “makes cool stuff sound even better”.
2. Roadie Man
3. Gotta Wait
4. Never Be Together
5. Let's Get Lost
6. Chord Lord
7. Blue Eyed Sky
8. The Man You Are
9. One More Day
10. I Hate Myself
11. Death Is Not Enough