in Review

Screaming Females – Ugly

With recording technology and the internet making it so easy for bands to get their music out there, it seems weird that I don’t hear about more bands refining their sound in this way before gaining more attention.  Anyways, Screaming Females have more or less been doing this for a while with a D.I.Y. aesthetic that saw them releasing their own albums independently and thriving in New Jersey’s underground scene.  Now it seems that this trio is just starting to really hit it’s stride with a growing knack for songcraft in addition to their unabashedly hard-rocking sound.

It seems pretty apparent that I’m always going to be drawn to that scruffy post-punk sound that continues to occasionally reverberate throughout indie rock, and that’s certainly at the backbone of Screaming Females’ sound.  However, there’s also this affinity for the kind of guitar pyrotechnics that you find in the classic rock of Zeppelin or Sabbath as well.  Really, the star of the album has undeniably got to be Marissa Paternoster, who’s guitar work here establishes her as a first rate shredder of the highest order, yet there’s still an ear for melody that aptly compliments her wailing guitar solos.  And in addition to that, Paternoster’s a real howler of a vocalist, which I suppose could be a bit polarizing for some people, but I really dig the way her unhinged vocals play off of her equally unhinged guitar work.

The only knock I have against Ugly is that it’s a little on the long side at 53 minutes, considering that the band never really strays too far from it’s distinctly sludgy sound.  The one real exception to this is the album’s closing track “It’s Nice”, a more introverted acoustic number that slowly builds itself into a full-on power ballad.  The song shows that this band can do beauty just as well as abrasiveness, and thus leaves me with hope that this band could give us even greater things in the future.

Favorite Tracks: “Rotten Apple”, “Help Me”, “It’s Nice”