New Brunswick, New Jersey’s Screaming Females always had a name that was a little too apropos (note: there’s no ‘The’…), with singer/guitarist Marissa Paternoster shredding and shouting more than enough to make up for the fact that bassist King Mike and drummer Jarrett Dougherty are males. But on their third full-length (and first on Don Giovanni), Power Move, the trio actually does move forward, but keep their power.
That can be most clearly heard right at the start with “Bell”, whose nice press gives the punk rock some catch. When the Screaming Females employ that press, especially in Mike’s bass lines, Power Move is at its best, such as with “Bell”, “I Believe In Evil”, “Halfway Down” and “Buried In the Nude”. Rhythm is the record’s strongest new suit, and not just in press: witness the almost rockabilly ways of “Sour Grapes” and “Lights Out”. Of course, Paternoster can still shred, but it is the rhythm that underpins it.
Sometimes, Power Move does shift down into the uninspired punk shouts that plague the genre, like on “Skull” and “Starving Dog”. That DIY-punk ethos, even with a female voice, is relatively simplistic and played out: what you liked when you were in a punk band in high school, pooh-poohed in college, and now just don’t feel that strongly about in any way. But Screaming Females are going beyond that, with a slot in the summer opening for iconic punk rock act Dinosaur Jr. (QRO live review) [update: Screaming Females also just got the opening slot in July for The Dead Weather, the new big-name act featuring Jack White of The White Stripes – QRO live review – and Alison “VV” Mosshart of The Kills – QRO photos]. So expect more Movement.