Words by Russell Carstens
Rose Mountain is the new album by New Jersey’s beloved indie/punk band, Screaming Females. They waste no time getting to the point on the opener “Empty Head,” which struts its stuff with a ballsy, Helmet-esque riff drenched in glorious amounts of fuzz. Marissa Paternoster’s vocals are super confident and dominating, asking, “You’re a big shot but who needs you?”
On “Ripe,” feedback blends into snaky punk metal before morphing into a Melvins homage in the middle section, while “Wishing Well,” features a beautifully reverb-soaked Hawaiian guitar. This gives the song a softer feel, in turn lending the album more dimension. Paternoster sings, “I toss dimes in the wishing well / Because you took over me,” in a mammoth chorus.
“Hopeless” is a contemplative, seemingly regret-filled song, “Burning Car” is a punk scorcher with the band right in the pocket, and the bass on “Broken Neck” emits an image of a spider shimmying down a long run of web while a leaky faucet drips in the background. The jaw dropping and appropriately titled “Triumph” features a riff so…well…triumphant, it could accompany video of the world’s best Olympic run in any sport.
As to be expected, Paternoster’s guitar solos display skill and flair without being obnoxious. J Mascis (who brought guitar heroics back to indie rock with Dinosaur Jr.) would surely approve. Rose Mountain is a nearly flawless album that is difficult to find issues with.
Don Giovanni Records
© February 24th, 2015
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