Some of my friends saw Screaming Females play in a basement in their hometown of New Brunswick, NJ this spring. I couldn’t make it and really regret it, not only because this band rocks, but also because with each write-up in Rolling Stone and performance on MTV, the likelihood of seeing them in a basement again rapidly dwindles. But if their increasing popularity means that something not totally shitty is piercing the mainstream music consciousness, I guess I can’t complain too much.
Screaming Females is a bit of a misnomer—there is only one female in the band, and she doesn’t scream that much. Still, this isn’t one of those bands that has gotten attention simply for having a girl at the forefront. This is no obnoxious boot-wearing, tambourine thigh-tapping waif. You may as well forget about lead singer/guitarist Marissa Paternoster’s gender; the point is that she can shred, sing and songwrite with the best of them.
Power Move, the band’s third album, channels the 60s with the occasional sunny surf-rock lick; the 70s with crunchy Sabbath metal riffs; the 80s with Paternoster’s Siouxsie-esque death yowl; and the 90s with plenty of fuzzed-out Pumpkins-y guitars. Tied together with lots of glorious feedback and dime-a-dozen shredding guitar solos, all of these elements combine to create a distinct sound without becoming a derivative reference-fest. My only complaint is that by starting the album with the strongest track, there is nowhere for it to go but downhill. That’s not to say that the rest of the album is disappointing—there are several strong moments, like the epic, echo-y anthem “Adult Army”—but opener “Bell” has the best of it all: a concise, catchy, rocking nugget of pure punk goodness. The album is worth a listen for that track alone.
Recommended trax: Bell, Lights Out, Adult Armyhttp://www.screamingfemales.com/