Screaming Females, if you weren’t already aware, are a trio (Marissa Paternoster, Mike Abbate and Jarrett Dougherty), originally from New Jersey. They have been together for over a decade, and they return with their 7th studio album, All At Once. Again, the band have called upon Seattle based producer, Matt Bayles, to work with them on this production, having worked with him on their previous release, Rose Mountain from 2015.
If you’re a fan of indie rock, then there is a lot to like about this double album. It ticks all of the boxes in terms of what a fan might want and expect from a band and album of this genre. Crashing guitars, melodic bass and outstanding vocals combine to provide a superb listen, with the tone set out in the opener, ‘Glass House’. This continues throughout the album, yet nothing on the album particularly stands out, either particularly good or bad. Not that this is a bad thing; it means that this is an album that can be to listened to in its entirety, and you don’t find yourself merely picking out the best bits whilst skipping the rest. Everything works, and the tracks flow well. Lyrically, it’s not challenging or thought provoking, despite the interesting use of mixing concepts. The latest single, ‘I’ll Make You Sorry’ is pretty straightforward, but offers the most likely earworm for the lyric “I once was in love before I knew you, But I’ve given up, I once was in love before you“. Nothing particularly resonates, but somehow it still sounds terrific, especially with the volume cranked up.
Musically, it works. It’s in the main fairly standard, relying mostly on Paternoster’s vocals and guitar, Mike’s bass and Dougherty’s drums. The production is spot on, which would be expected from a producer whose CV includes bands like Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam. It feels a bit disparaging to say that there isn’t a standout track, but this isn’t the intention at all. It’s actually refreshing to put on an album, and listen to start to finish without having to think about what is going on, or as a mood changer or enhancer, and to just sit back and go with the flow.
It’s also an album that will perform well on stage, which is always a good thing as Screaming Females are due to play a number of shows in the UK this May. It’s an enjoyable listen, the only thing slight criticism would be that there is lack of any ‘showstoppers’, but that’s just plucking at straws. There is some experimentation to this album, in comparison to their earlier releases, but falls short of bringing anything groundbreaking to the table. However, if you love indie rock, and you want something that you can play loud, it is definitely worth giving this a go.
All At Once is out now on Don Giovanni.