Screaming Females

Rose Mountain

Written by: PP on 10/04/2015 22:54:48

Many applaud Screaming Females as one of the saviors of modern punk movement. This scribe isn't among them, as I've struggled to find much to appreciate about the band in the past. They do a little better on sixth album "Rose Mountain", where tracks like "Ripe" and "Wishing Well" prove the band can write clever little pop-tinged alternative punk tracks that are also catchy in the process. But as a whole, "Rose Mountain" still stumbles on the frankly awful vocal delivery of Marissa Paternoster who consistently sounds as volatile as she does awkward in her singing style.

This sort of off-tune, retro style garage punk is lauded by the hipster types, so it's no wonder Screaming Females have been doing so well over the past five years or so. But once you remove the hipster filter from the criteria, not many redeeming factors are left about "Rose Mountain". The songs not only lack in power due to the fragile vocals, but they also fail to bring forward interesting melodies that stick. Sure, there are exceptions like the two aforementioned tracks and "Broken Neck" as another example, but as a whole the sound feels too claustrophobic for its own good. Trying to pack together original punk rebellion into a vintage soundscape just doesn't work very well in most cases as is evident throughout the record. In short, this is the type of music that's claimed as punk by types who don't really listen to punk rock nor are familiar with what the scene has had to offer over the last couple of decades since Bad Religion's "Suffer" changed everything. That's not their fault per se, but in the context of punk rock "Rose Mountain" just isn't very good at all.

How about in a garage rock or even an indie rock context, where Screaming Females feel better suited for anyway? Here, there are some qualities that suggest the band is worth checking out. Their approach is to combine indie-flavor and garage rock with punk undertones, which in practice switches between minimalism (see: "Hopeless") to upbeat garage rock (see: "Triumph") with a few quirky melodies here and there. When it works, it's surprisingly good. But when it doesn't, it sounds too off-tune. In the end, it'll come down to whether you can stomach Marissa's unconventional singing style or not, for this scribe it's a game breaker every time.


Download: Ripe, Wishing Well, Rose Mountain, Triumph
For the fans of: Terrible Feelings, Patti Smith, Shellshag
Listen: Facebook

Release date 24.02.2015
Don Giovanni Records

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