When Chrissie Hynde was working on solo project with the Black Key’s Dan Auerbach in his Nashville studio, and the toe and sound began to feel her with a sense of familiarity, she decided to turn her attention into making this a Pretenders’ album. Alone comes thirty six years after the bands debut and is as tough and ragged as ever.
The title track is a fuzzed out slice of rock with the distinctive almost spoken word vocal of Hynde spruiking the benefits of isolation. The Auerbach influence continues on the swampy Gotta Wait where the pounding drums and ragged guitars drive the tough as nails approach.
Hynde may have been intent on some added crunch for this outing, but she is at her most appealing when the focus is on melody. Never Be Together almost hits the mark with it’s slinky demeanour and Duane Eddy’s laid back twang. There are tales to the romantically challenged that find Hynde comfortable in her wheelhouse, but it is the hint of the graveyard in the ballad Death Is Not Enough that is the best moment here.
It may be unfair to expect The Pretenders to be able to repeat the potency of tunes such as Brass In Pocket and Back On The Chain Gang. Sadly their history only acts as a millstone around their neck for Alone.
2 1/2 STARS