If you’ve been following JOVM for a while, you may have come across several posts on the New Brunswick, NJ-based trio of Screaming Females. Comprised of Marissa Paternoster (guitar, vocals), Jarrett Dougherty (drums) and King Mike (bass), the trio got their start playing in New Brunswick’s renowned all-ages basement show circuit; but throughout the years, they’ve received quite a bit of attention both nationally and across the blogosphere for material that was comprised of blazing guitar lines and a sprawling, frenetic energy paired with Paternoster’s sneering vocals. And through their almost ten year career, the members of the band have steadfastly held on to the DIY ethos that they were brought up in — in fact, all of their releases were self produced, although they enlisted the legendary Steve Albini to engineer their 2012 release Ugly and their impressive Live at the Hideout.
The New Brunswick-based trio’s forthcoming, sixth full-length effort, Rose Mountain, which is slated for a February 24, 2015 release through Don Giovanni Records marks a major first for the band — the first time that they’ve worked with an outside producer, Matt Bayles, best known for his work with Mastodon and The Sword. And although enlisting Bayles to handle the knobs and dials broke a longstanding self-imposed rule by the band, rules are meant to be broken on occasion – sometimes to truly compelling results.
As the band set out to write and record the material that would comprise Rose Mountain, they had a particular vision, which resulted in a decidedly different songwriting and recording approach — whereas their previously recorded material was much more sprawling, the forthcoming album has the band writing and recording songs that are arguably the most concise, melodic and downright radio-friendly/accessible they’ve ever released — all while retaining the blazing guitar work and fury of their previous work.
“Criminal Image” must like “Ripe” bears some of Bayles’s influence and production touch – the guitar lines are crisper and clearer, which pushes the material much closer to metal than punk, thanks to the material’s insistent forcefulness. And it’s paired with thunderous drumming, throbbing bass and Paternoster’s sneering vocals. However, “Criminal Image” bears a resemblance to the Pixies and Nirvana in the sense that structurally, the song is comprise of loud, quiet, loud — but with one of the best guitar solos I’ve heard in quite some time. And although Marissa Paternoster may be small, she roars with a primal fury. As I’ve mentioned before, Paternoster should be a part of that list of incredible contemporary guitarists – a list that must include White Mystery’s Alex White.
The official video for the song has the members of the band doing something extremely mundane – brushing their teeth while the song is playing. It evokes the sense of the band being average to the point of being almost boring. Yeah they may kick ass, but you can also picture them standing right next to you at a show.