Screaming Females - All at Once Album Review
Despite a consistent discography filled with albums that nail the classic indie rock sound, New Jersey trio Screaming Females have never quite been able to capitalize on the immense performing talents of their members. Frontwoman Marissa Paternoster is a captivating presence behind the microphone and on guitar, with drummer Jarrett Dougherty and bassist King Mike providing a precise rhythm section to give their songs a strong forward momentum. But now on their seventh studio album, something has clicked within the band’s songwriting. They’ve delivered an impressive fifteen tracks of dynamic songs that come together in an exciting way for inarguably the best album of the band’s career.
Though influences from punk rock still plays a signature role in the band’s sound, Screaming Females draw from hard rock and classic rock when structuring their songs on All at Once. Instead of following a more rigid formula heard on their past releases, Screaming Females stretch out or shrink segments of their songs if they don’t play to the band’ strengths. This gives the band more room to develop the emotional impact of the tracks, building up tension until just the right moment regardless of how traditional indie rock structure usually dictates.
This utilization of more unique song structures helps the band to flesh out the variety of styles on the album as whole, offering moments of straightforward shredding, tense grooves and passionate belters. All at Once feels more complete compared to past Screaming Females records, shifting between juxtaposing styles without disregarding the tone established in the preceding track. Few groups can fine tune their sound so well to smoothly flow from a track as gnarly as “Black Moon” to a track as longing as “Deeply” in a mere ten minutes without feeling jarring. Yet somehow Screaming Females do it seemingly effortlessly here.
Lyrically the band’s ambition is greater than ever before and executed exceedingly well. Whether it be the complex political anthems like “Soft Domination” or the haunting beauty of “Bird in Space,” Paternoster’s absorbing vocal delivery somehow achieves new heights with greater weight placed behind the words she’s singing. For a record to be as high energy musically as All at Once is while still offering interesting lyrical themes is no simple feat.
If there is any shortcoming of the album, it’s that tracks 13 and 14 don’t hit as hard as the preceding 12 tracks before them, though the album’s closer “Step Outside” ramps the energy back up with one last shredfest to satisfyingly close out the album. It’s difficult to complete a full listenthrough of All at Once without feeling amped; the band’s immense performing talents shine through in a way the band has never been able to capture before on record, with their passion and charisma bursting at its seems. It’s infectious, it’s exciting and it’s a refreshing rock experience in today’s modern musical landscape.
Chandler Copenheaver is a senior majoring in public relations. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Senior / Public Relations