Working with Steve Albini on their fifth album, Ugly, Screaming Females take full advantage of the raw, biting sound the famed engineer has become known for. With a sound that sits somewhere between Sleater-Kinney and Dinosaur Jr., the New Jersey power trio delivers yet another batch of high-energy guitar worship that once again makes a strong case for frontwoman Marissa Paternoster being the second coming of J Mascis. Hooky and riff-heavy, Screaming Females are a refreshingly gnarly band in a time when indie rock seems to be getting increasingly precious. Rather than layering on the beardy plaintiveness or throwing in the occasional vintage synth, the band just pushes toward good old-fashioned rock & roll as it taps into that most visceral of musical expressions: the totally searing guitar solo. Tracks like "Doom 84" find Screaming Females exploring the classic rock rabbit hole as they come swagger their way out out of the midsong solo with a big scuzzy Southern rock riff, making for a song that would sound just as natural at a basement show as it would blaring out of a Camaro on a summer day. If you think that the "rock" part of "indie rock" has been dying a slow death, look to Screaming Females as your lighthouse during these dark, guitar-less times and rejoice as you air shred along with all that Ugly has to offer.
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney