Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders will release their 12th studio album, Relentless, on Sept. 1 through Rhino Records, and have teased its arrival with the first single “Let the Sun Come In.” The group’s return to the Warner Music Group comes a month after the passing of Seymour Stein, who signed the Pretenders to his Sire imprint in the late 1970s.
“I enjoy seeing the various meanings and origins of a word,” Hynde says of the album title. “And I liked the definition: ‘showing no abatement of intensity.’ So when it came to an album title, it seemed fitting. You know … to keep doing it. I think anyone in a band is constantly questioning if they should keep going. It starts as a youthful pursuit and eventually, it makes you wonder, why am I doing this? It’s the life of the artist. You never retire. You become relentless.”
One of the album’s highlights is its closer, “I Think About You Daily,” which features a string arrangement from Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood performed by the 12 Ensemble.
“I met Jonny a couple of times and we’re obviously big fans of him because he’s done some incredible music over the years,” Hynde says. “I saw him at the Phantom Thread premiere where the film was running on screen with a live orchestra playing, and we spoke afterward and he expressed an interest in doing something one day. I was thrilled and very surprised. So when we had the idea of getting strings on ‘I Think About You Daily,’ he was first choice. Legend!”
Relentless was produced by David Wrench and recorded at Battery Studios in London. As she did on 2020’s Hate for Sale, Hynde wrote the material with Pretenders guitarist James Walbourne. The ensemble is rounded out by drummer Kris Sonne, double bassist Chris Hill, bassist Dave Page, and keyboardist/guitarist and Carwyn Ellis.
The Pretenders will be on tour in Europe starting tomorrow (May 12) in Brighton, England, including a host of dates opening for Guns N’ Roses. The group’s lone U.S. show, for now, is on Oct. 1 at Eddie Vedder’s Ohana Festival in Dana Point, Ca.