The Pretenders’ Debut Album

More The Pretenders

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  • Insanely good sound throughout — Triple Plus (A+++) on the second side, Double Plus (A++) on the first – we rarely have copies that rock the way this one does
  • This is one of engineer Bill Price’s better efforts behind the boards, and Chris Thomas’s production is State of the Art
  • Relatively quiet vinyl throughout this early UK pressing – Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • Five Stars: “Few rock & roll records rock as hard or with as much originality as the Pretenders’ eponymous debut album. A sleek, stylish fusion of Stonesy rock & roll, new wave pop, and pure punk aggression, Pretenders is teeming with sharp hooks and a viciously cool attitude.”

What really separated this copy from the pack was the lack of edge on the vocals. It’s not duller — it’s bigger and clearer yet less distorted and cut cleaner than most of the other sides we played.

Add big bass and dynamics and you have yourself some truly Hot Stamper sound!

Forget the dubby domestic vinyl, these Brit pressings are the only way to go.

What amazing sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1980
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments (and effects!) having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is of course the only way to hear all of the above.

And this one is quieter than most. Many of the copies I bought from English record dealers were just BEAT. They kept telling me they played fine (on their Technics tables I’m guessing) but I could not for the life of me replicate their findings for myself here in the states.

This is one of the few that has survived the enthusiasms of the early ’80s and can still be played on audiophile equipment in 2017. That makes it a rare copy indeed. And it sounds terrific.

Price and Thomas

Bill Price engineered and Chris Thomas produced. You may remember them from the Sex Pistols’ debut and The Clash’s London Calling, two amazingly well-recorded albums. Wish we could find them; as I said, dealing with English record sellers is for the most part an unpleasant, not to say expensive, experience.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Precious 
Phone Call
Up To The Neck
Tattooed Love Boys
Space Invaders
Wait
Stop Your Sobbing

Side Two

Kid
Private Life
Lovers Of Today
Brass In Pocket
Mystery Achievement

AMG Review

Few rock & roll records rock as hard or with as much originality as the Pretenders’ eponymous debut album. A sleek, stylish fusion of Stonesy rock & roll, new wave pop, and pure punk aggression, Pretenders is teeming with sharp hooks and a viciously cool attitude.

Although Chrissie Hynde establishes herself as a forceful and distinctively feminine songwriter, the record isn’t a singer/songwriter’s tour de force — it’s a rock & roll album, powered by a unique and aggressive band.

Guitarist James Honeyman-Scott never plays conventional riffs or leads, and his phased, treated guitar gives new dimension to the pounding rhythms of “Precious,” “Tattooed Love Boys,” “Up the Neck,” and “The Wait,” as well as the more measured pop of “Kid,” “Brass in Pocket,” and “Mystery Achievement.”

He provides the perfect backing for Hynde and her tough, sexy swagger. Hynde doesn’t fit into any conventional female rock stereotype, and neither do her songs, alternately displaying a steely exterior or a disarming emotional vulnerability.

It’s a deep, rewarding record, whose primary virtue is its sheer energy. Pretenders moves faster and harder than most rock records, delivering an endless series of melodies, hooks, and infectious rhythms in its 12 songs.

Few albums, let alone debuts, are ever this astonishingly addictive.