Loose Screw

Pretenders’ first new album since 1999 is hot. Given that such putative singers as J.Lo and Britney Spears have been dominating the airwaves, it’s great to hear Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde’s sexy growl again. Loose Screw kicks off with “Lie to Me,” which rides on an evil punkish beat like something off the first two Pretenders albums; it should have been the first single. Instead, the much weaker reggae ballad “Complex Person” got the nod. Go figure. Another standout track, “You Know Who Your Friends Are,” is a haunting, slice-of-life rock ballad. Most of the songs here are originals, co-written by Hynde and guitarist Adam Seymour. The album closes with “Walk Like a Panther,” a sexy reggae-rock cover of a tune penned by Jarvis Cocker of Pulp fame. “You gotta walk like a panther to keep up with me,” Hynde growls. This album is one loose screw that rocks hard. Pretenders are back.