THE NEWS HERALD

Return to The Pretty Reckless

The Pretty Reckless rolling into House of Blues to rock

By John Benson, For The News-Herald

POSTED: 11/09/16, 3:44 PM EST | UPDATED: 4 DAYS AGO

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The Pretty Reckless enjoyed breakout success with its sophomore album, “Going to Hell,” and No. 1 radio hits “Heaven Knows,” “Messed Up World” and “Follow Me Down.”The Pretty Reckless enjoyed breakout success with its sophomore album, “Going to Hell,” and No. 1 radio hits “Heaven Knows,” “Messed Up World” and “Follow Me Down.” Razor & Tie Publicity

The Pretty Reckless

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 12.

Where: House of Blues, 308 Euclid Ave., Cleveland.

Tickets: $23 in advance, $28 day of show.

Info: ticketmaster.com.

Just seeing where the music was going to take her in life has been Taylor Momsen’s mission for a while.

It was roughly a decade ago when the actress — who as a child starred in feature films “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams,” before garnering national attention as a teenager in television show “Gossip Girl” — started thinking about music.

That led to the formation of rock act The Pretty Reckless. A few years ago, the hardworking outfit enjoyed breakout success with sophomore album “Going to Hell” and No. 1 radio hits “Heaven Knows,” “Messed Up World” and “Follow Me Down.”

The commercial success put The Pretty Reckless in rare air alongside Jared Leto’s band 30 Seconds to Mars. Early on, both were viewed as nothing more than side projects from actors naively believing they could easily parlay celebrity into record sales. It turned out both had musical chops. Also, while Leto still acts, this is Momsen’s only gig.

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So, that said, does Momsen feel as though she’s 

finally made the transition or is there still baggage from her acting past?

“It still exists, but it’s definitely not what we’re about,” said Momsen, calling from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. “I know probably, with the second record, it turned around when we were actually getting played on radio across America.

“That’s when my whole background — my path of acting as a child — started to fade and people started identifying with the band and not my childhood, which was nice.”

Now the outfit, which returns to Northeast Ohio for a show Nov. 12 at the House of Blues, is back with its recently released third album, “Who You Selling For.” The CD already boasts yet another No. 1 tune in lead single “Take Me Down.”

“We’re always trying to move forward and grow as a band, and we definitely did that on this record,” Momsen said. “We really tried to not put any limitations on ourselves. Not that we ever did, but we really tried to keep it open.

“The cool thing about rock ’n’ roll is it is freedom. It encompasses everything: blues, jazz, pop, country. You have the freedom as a writer to go in any direction. I think we tried to do that on this record, to keep it really honest and organic.”

The result is isn’t so much a collection of singles but instead a throwback to an earlier time when an album tracklist was meticulously arranged to create a cohesive narrative and soundscape where emotions and moods provided as much as an appeal as the actual songs.

Furthermore, on the new album, Momsen’s smokey vocals add gravitas to dark and raw lyrics, while her band mates adeptly explore sonic textures. For proof of the group’s impressive songwriting prowess, check out the bluesy “The Devil’s Back,” which delves into a psychedelic jam.

“That’s an example of how this record was made because it was supposed to be a two-and-a-half-minute song,” Momsen said. “We were all jamming, it just felt very good, and we just kept playing. It’s just seeing where the song was going to take you.”

Speaking of being taken and considering the title of the album, Momsen is asked who she is selling for these days? Her answer isn’t so such a who as it is a what and why.

“Well, music, that’s the simple answer,” Momsen said. “It works for me. I love it.”

THE PRETTY RECKLESS

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 12.

Where: House of Blues, 308 Euclid Ave., Cleveland.

Tickets: $23 in advance, $28 day of show.

Info: ticketmaster.com.