Album Review: Screaming Females – All At Once

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Screaming Females

All At Once - Don Giovanni Records

Throughout their lifetime as a band the Screaming Females have always moved against the prevailing winds, now with six albums under their belt and more than a decade of touring, they have always remained deeply individual and stuck to their DIY roots. Each new album from the Screaming Females has been a reaction to the last, a chance for the band to challenge and reinvent itself and its audience by switching course and subverting expectations. All At Once, Screaming Females seventh full length, will be released via Don Giovanni Records on the 23rd February 2018 on CD and double vinyl, and a limited edition triple vinyl, LP that captures the band at its most ambitious and expansive.

From the extended build up of Glass Houses that signifies the start of All At Once you can’t help but feel that Screaming Females have brought us something very special with this extended opus, Black Moon confirms this with a pounding anthem that kicks things off in earnest. I’ll Make You Sorry keeps the momentum going with a driven break up song, Dirt brings the pace down and eases a more sinister element into the album and Screaming Females continues to pick up and discard influences and styles almost at will, from the alt rock of Agnes Martin, to the stark indie of Deeply and onto the angular post punk rhythms of Soft Domination and End Of My Bloodline.

All At Once is marked by the album’s centrepiece, Chamber For Sleep parts one and two, a two part view of the afterlife that is linked via a sound collage of improvisational techniques the band have developed over ten years on the road, this may sound self indulgent but it doesn’t come across that way and the experimental part one blends perfectly into the strident and focused second chapter of the song. The final five tracks return to Screaming Females picking and discarding styles, from the psychedelic influences of Bird In Paradise, the straight up punk rock of Fantasy Lens, the alt rock influenced My Body, the gentle almost nursery rhyme like Drop By Drop and the guitar torturing finale of Step Outside.

Releasing a double album can often be a self indulgent exercise, many times you end up wishing that the band had cut away the chaff and released a single volume instead, but that is certainyl not the case with Screaming Females latest release, All At Once is an expansive album that cuts a broad swathe across alternative culture and that seems to adopt and discard influences at will. At times this is part Patti Smith and Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, at others it embraces punk and post punk, and there is an ever present feel of the less commercial side of grunge and alt rock, all of this combines to create an expansive, challenging, experimental and near perfect album that would appear to be either their White Album or Black Album, depending on your perspective.

All At Once can be pre-ordered on CD and vinyl formats via Don Giovanni Records here

Screaming Females website can be found here