Chrissie Hynde moved back to Akron to care for her aging parents and quite possibly begin her own retirement. But like so many times in her career and life, fate intervened.
She opened a vegan restaurant, began reabsorbing the Midwest atmosphere that defined her upbringing and then, after a six-year gap since the last Pretenders album, songs began to suggest themselves.
Finally there was an album’s worth, which yielded the consistently excellent new Pretenders album, Break Up the Concrete. As is typical for Hynde, nothing about the swinging, stinging, swaying Concrete is typical.
Returning to the middle American landscape where she first fell in love with Rock clearly impacted Hynde. Concrete is a stripped down hillbilly hot rod of an album, a more direct evocation of the chugging Punkabilly influences that steered the earliest incarnation of The Pretenders in the late ’70s. From the four-on-the-floor rave-up of “Boots of Chinese Plastic” and the title track to the wistful Country yearning of “One Thing Never Changed,” Break Up the Concrete is so seminal it sounds like an archival predecessor to the band’s 1978 debut.
The band plays with American Bang at the Taft Theatre. Read a full interview with Chrissie Hynde here.