Screaming Females have been touring and producing records for just shy of a decade, and they’ve managed to keep both their energy and integrity with the release of seventh studio album, All At Once – which is something worth writing about.
Released via Don Giovanni Records earlier this month, and produced by long-time collaborator Matt Bayles (Pearl Jam, Mastodon, Murder City Devils), Marissa Paternoster (guitar, vox), Mike Abbate (bass), and Jarrett Dougherty (drums) spent a month recording in Seattle, splitting their time between London Bridge Studio and Red Room – and the result is a relentless fourteen track record.
Powerful opener ‘Glass House’ is fueled by filthy bass lines and sturdy vocals from Paternoster. Despite sounding like a break-up song, following track ‘Black Moon’ is actually about “the planet abandoning humanity” – but it doesn’t seem as bleak as that, thanks to the riotous guitar and knockout percussion.
‘I’ll Make You Sorry’ is no idle threat, even if Paternoster asks “am I losing faith in my own anger?”. ‘Dirt’ kicks up the musical dust again, before ‘Agnes Martin’ busts wide open with “emblems built of garbage” and devious riffs. ‘Deeply’ is a passionate two minutes of slow-building, burning vocals, whilst ‘Soft Domination’ is equally as heated.
Despite originally being conceived as a minimalist drum machine-driven demo, ‘End Of My Bloodline’ feels fleshy enough, and bookend tracks ‘Chamber For Sleep (Part One)’ and ‘Chamber For Sleep (Part Two)’ ponder a similarly morbid subject: the afterlife. “It’s sort of about sitting around, fantasizing about your own funeral and kind of wishing you could be there to see what it would be like” says Paternoster. “I would consider that a very universal human experience. Or maybe I’m crazy. I have no idea” says Paternoster.
Crazy or not, ‘Bird In Space’ soars like “a bird in paradise” with its rich guitar sounds, and contrasts well with the jarring opening on following ‘Fantasy Lens’. ‘My Body’, ‘Drop By Drop’ and ‘Step Outside’ sound minimal, but they’re all loud lessons in self-restraint; something Paternoster said she was “conscious” of whilst writing this album – wary of adding too many layers to each song.
Screaming Females seventh offering is another lively, consistent, riotous affair that should be played loud, and All At Once for full effect. It’s sure to please fans who have stayed loyal to the band along the way, and to grasp the attention of new ears too.
Photo Credit: Farrah Skeiky