Home Read Albums Of The Week: The Pretenders | Relentless

Albums Of The Week: The Pretenders | Relentless

What Chrissie Hyde's latest lacks in punch, it makes up grace and staying power.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Relentless, the 14th studio album from founding singer-guitarist Chrissie Hynde and her current version of The Pretenders, is a clearly defined snapshot of where she and the band are in 2023.

Speaking about the album title, Hynde says: “I enjoy seeing the various meanings and origins of a word. And I liked the definition: ‘Showing no abatement of intensity.’ It’s the life of the artist. You never retire. You become relentless.”

Relentless is the second consecutive Pretenders album to be written as a collaboration between Hynde and the band’s resident guitar hero, James Walbourne — a sought-after musician in his own right, having recorded with Dave Gahan, Jerry Lee Lewis and The Rails amongst many more.

Photo by Ki Price.

On their songwriting process, Hynde says: “We had developed this method of working remotely and it seemed like we just kept on doing it for this album. This is something that we’ve honed down to an art in the last few years. He always comes up with something I wouldn’t have thought of myself and I love surprises.”

Produced by David Wrench and recorded at Battery Studios in West London, the album’s 12 tracks feature what Chrissie describes as “The Pretenders Collective.” This extended band features Walbourne (guitars), Kris Sonne (drums), Chris Hill (double bass), Dave Page (bass) and Carwyn Ellis (keyboards and guitars). The album also features a long hoped-for collaboration with the esteemed composer Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead, The Smile), who provides the string arrangement and conducted the 12 Ensemble for the album’s beautiful closing track, I Think About You Daily.

Relentless is the first Pretenders album to be released via Warner BrothersParlophone’s parent label — since 1999. After first signing to small independent label Real Records on the back of the heyday of punk rock, The Pretenders’ first single led them to sign with Sire — whose parent company was also Warner Brothers — via legendary A&R man Seymour Stein, a partnership lasting 20 years.”


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