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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

September 23, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Review: Strong vocals propel punk band’s style expansion

"Rose Mountain"

Screaming Females

The New Jersey–based punk-rock band, Screaming Females, released its sixth album, “Rose Mountain,” on Feb. 24. Contrary to the band’s name, lead singer Marissa Paternoster uses her voice to add a dynamic sound that tells a story. Reminiscent of No Doubt’s early 2000s sound, Paternoster’s vocals are husky and powerful — a good match for her honest lyrics.

The album starts off with “Empty Head” and “Ripe,” both of which have similar beats and heavy dependence on guitar. Paternoster’s anger is portrayed effortlessly by her powerful voice belting metaphorical lyrics that describe her emotions in an unusual, almost abstract way. “Wishing Well” comes as a surprise with its melodic vocals and slower tempo. Arguably one of the best tracks on the album, Paternoster sings in the last line of the chorus, “In the next life I’ll be better,” evoking a sense of determination that is apparent throughout the entire album.

The band then falls back into its typical style with fast beats and heavy guitar until the titular track “Rose Mountain.” In another standout song, Paternoster’s voice is refreshingly confident as she sings, “I’m nothing like the others,” with a mix of eclectic chords complementing her sound. The song ends with an old-timey piano playing eerily in the background, leaving the audience discomforted.

As a whole, “Rose Mountain” is a commendable attempt to break free from the typical punk-rock scene. This album expands the Screaming Females’ range of style with an integration of different sounds and, for the most part, succeeds.