Screaming Females

Castle Talk

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There is only one female in this band -- the diminutive Marissa Paternoster -- but she does indeed scream, both vocally and on her guitar, providing the earsplitting squall that gives this power trio its considerable muscle. Castle Talk was recorded live in the studio, and while it has slightly more production polish than the band's previous efforts, Paternoster's exploitation of the unlimited possibilities of the electric guitar still gives Screaming Females' music plenty of edge, pushing the sound into post-punk territory without diminishing their considerable songwriting chops. She also does more singing, and less screaming, than on previous efforts, but the music still remains assertive and compelling. The punchy bass of Michael "King Mike" Abbate introduces the opening track, "Laura + Marty," the sad tale of a pair of young junkies; Paternoster's scorching solo sets your teeth on edge, just like an accidental overdose. "I Don't Mind It" is a pop gem with a catchy refrain powerfully delivered by Paternoster, who then delivers a smoking solo introduced by a series of, er, screaming single notes. "Boss" alternates between Paternoster's wailing guitar and a quiet restrained vocal before finishing with another impressive assault. "A New Kid" and "Sheep" sound like traditional metal tunes with their grinding guitar and Jarrett Dougherty's propulsive drumming. "Nothing at All" addresses a needy friend with Paternoster's vocal providing a bit of tenderness to complement her sonic attack. The album's closing tracks toss a little variety into the mix. "Deluxe" is an acoustic, almost folky tune, although the echo added to the track makes it hard to decipher the lyrics, while "Ghost Solo" has a bit of implied disco in Abbate's bassline and Paternoster's guitar accents, and nods obliquely to the Rolling Stones in the chorus. Paternoster's guitar and Abbate's bass may command much of your attention, but Dougherty's drumming is subtle throughout, providing the backbone to support Paternoster's always impressive flights of fancy.

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