The Pretty Reckless releases enjoyable EP

She’s got one of the most conflicting images in Hollywood. With her original innocence as Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas and her good-girl-gone-bad act on Gossip Girl, Taylor Momsen tends to leave audiences confused —her personas are different even as she dazzles with every performance. And when Momsen’s band, The Pretty Reckless, released their second EP, Hit Me Like A Man, this past Tuesday, Momsen proved she’s got the talent to trade acting for a successful music career.

“I didn’t choose acting or modeling, I got thrown into it,” said Momsen in a bio on the band’s website.  “I liked it, so that wasn’t a problem, but music and songwriting are what I’ve always really wanted to do. I’ve been working with producers and hanging out in recording studios since I was five, I just couldn’t put out an album when I was eight…Now I can.”

Momsen’s newly channeled energies are apparent on Hit Me Like A Man, which is available for download on iTunes. Though the EP features two live performances of former hits (“Makes Me Wanna Die” and “Since You’re Gone”), the remaining three tracks are innovative even as they remain true to the band’s former alternative-meets-classic-rock sound.

The title track, “Hit Me Like A Man,” is perhaps the most memorable. The song opens with a series of grungy guitar riffs before Momsen’s mature, muffled vocals enter for the first verse.

“I am strong, love is evil,” croons Momsen. “It’s a version of perversion that is only for the lucky people.” The song’s dark lyrics only serve to augment the heavy quality of the music.

“Cold Blooded” follows the same thematic elements of “Hit Me Like A Man.” Though the song begins slowly with a dragging, synth-like guitar and doesn’t melodically resemble any other track, Momsen continues to warn audiences of the sinister side of love, which serves as a nice way to connect an album that concerns itself with finding a new sound on each track.

To be fair, Momsen’s rock group The Pretty Reckless is hardly new. The band debuted in 2010 with their album Light Me Up, which featured memorable songs like “You,” and “My Medicine.” But with a large international following, The Pretty Reckless’ tours have been primarily focused overseas, featuring stops in Australia, the UK and France. Nevertheless, with The Medicine Tour, which lasts from March until the end of April, the band seems to be trying to build up a larger American fan base.

The Pretty Reckless will be performing at the Constellation Room in Santa Ana this Sunday March 11 and at the House of Blues Sunset Strip on March 14.