By Maria Lubanovic, Copy Editor
[Don Giovanni; 2018]
Key Tracks: “Agnes Martin”, “Chamber for Sleep (Parts One and Two)”, “Bird in Space”
Screaming Females bring power and thoughtfulness to their seventh full-length album, All at Once. It’s an album consistently packed with powerful riffs and instrumentals that are unleashed in a way that creates an unbridled and passionate album that is still fun and tangible.
Opening with a bass rhythm and lead vocals by Marissa Paternoster, “Glass House” is a slow build of repeating patterns into heavier guitar sections, which are featured prominently throughout the rest of the album. Right about at the 2-minute-30-second mark of “Glass House”, the track explodes with guitar and Paternoster’s strong, vibrato vocals. It plummets into an unrelenting pop-punk feel that doesn’t waver through the rest of the album.
Brimming with tracks that have a true rock feel bolstered by Paternoster’s vocals and pounding guitar, the album lets loose with high energy tracks, like “I’ll Make You Sorry”, with its monstrous guitar solos, and “Agnes Martin”, with a jamming riff and lyrics that are insatiably catchy and popping. It also closes with another complicated instrumental section before buzzing into silence. Despite the rock feel and the heavy vocals, there are tracks that feel inherently sexy, especially tracks like “Soft Domination”, which sparkles with guitar flourishes and Paternoster’s whiny singing, as well as “My Body”.
Even though the trio doesn’t stray too far from their drum-guitar-bass combination, there are specific effects that allow the bass to be pluckier, or the guitar to be screechy and bolder, like in “End of My Bloodline”. One of the major accomplishments on this album is “Chamber for Sleep”, a two-part track that even at over seven minutes long, never loses momentum and uses some of these effects to warp the guitar riff into a shimmery overtone. This track also features a complex guitar solo that wiggles and grooves under some percussion that hasn’t been used up until this point in the album, like chimes or light marimba tones. Part Two quickly settles into a lighter groove before Paternoster’s vocals slam back in, repeating the melody from Part One before plunging back into a new guitar solo.
“Bird in Space” enters a new realm of ethereal lyrics layered over piano and climbing guitar. Paternoster harmonizes with herself and easily leans into the bass below. Screaming Females never miss an opportunity to play a guitar solo, and it’s so evident in this track, which features two of them, the second one over a minute long. It exemplifies the skills of the musicians so well, and they clearly know their strengths.
If you love great rock music, listen to this album. It’s so good, huge and cohesive, with every track full of substance, stuffed with as many instrumentals and on-point vocals that they could possibly handle.