ALBUM: Screaming Females – ‘All At Once’

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 in tact with the release of their seventh studio album, All At Once.

Released via Don Giovanni Records and produced by long-time collaborator Matt Bayles (Pearl Jam, Mastodon, Murder City Devils), band members Marissa Paternoster (guitar, vox), Mike Abbate (bass), and Jarrett Dougherty (drums) spent a month recording in Seattle 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 thanks to the riotous guitar and knockout percussion it doesn’t sound as bleak as that.

‘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 its “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’ sounds fleshy enough, while 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,” explains Paternoster. “I would consider that a very universal human experience. Or maybe I’m crazy. I have no idea.”

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 track ‘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 a lively 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 grasp the attention of new ears too.

You can order your copy of All At Once here. Follow Screaming Females on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Farrah Skeiky

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut