Screaming Females is a power rock trio from New Jersey that sound a bit like a less sexy, more gritty version of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs if they hadn’t dropped the ball and had picked up a bass player instead. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs first album, Fever To Tell, was a slice of Rockandfuckingroll that singed my eyebrows off. Since then, they haven’t quite had the same kind of energy. First, they went acoustic with Show Your Bones and then they went electronic and danceable with It’s Blitz. So it’s nice that Screaming Females have come along and picked up the Rockandfuckingroll ball, because that thing needs a good bouncing from time to time.
Fuzzy, dirty and loud, Screaming Females stomp their way through the room, challenging and besting all comers on all sides. They don’t care what you think of them; they’re here to rock your ass till midnight and beyond. And they do, in style. Guitarist/singer Marissa Paternoster can howl and wail with the best of them. And man oh man, can she shred. Initially, I thought this band was a vocals/bass/drums set up, so I was surprised when I popped in the CD and was blasted by a wave of guitar riffage so hot it could start a forest fire.
Every track here, even the slower ones, crackle with energy. The whole album is blistering inferno of ripping guitars and shrieking vocals, with a tight, single-minded rhythm section providing the underpinning. Drummer Jarret Dougherty and bassist King Mike (another great name!) can go from slamming unity to rolling propulsion in seconds and are the perfect backing to Paternoster’s bluesy screams and fuzzed out guitars.
Screaming Females are certainly their own band. Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs has this sex goddess thing going on, Paternoster just doesn’t have that. Paternoster’s presentation and vocals are far more ragged and uneven. Sometimes they’re a hoarse scream, sometimes they’re a bluesy wail, they don’t stick to a particular pattern, and that to me, is a very good thing.
This album is blessed by the fact that it is stacked with excellent tracks from start to finish. I would need to listen to it a few more times to come up with my exact favorites, but the catchyasfuck opener “Bell” serves as a great mission statement and introduction.
Overall, I would have to say that this is a fantastic album, full of grit and sweat and blood. And, of course, Rockandfuckingroll.