Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Album Review: Screaming Females- Live at The Hideout

Screaming Females
Live at The Hideout
*** out of *****
The three piece arena sounding/club playing punk band from New Brunswick, NJ, Screaming Females have made major waves in the recent years around excellent records but primarily because of their constant touring and energetic, engaging, must see live show.  Live at The Hideout is the groups attempt to capture that onstage magic on record and like most live records parts of what make them vital is there but it also proves seeing/being/feeling in person is hard to duplicate.

The group went for a rawness/simplistic approach asking Steve Albini to record the trio at a tiny Chicago bar during a freezing January cold spell. Albini is familiar with their work, manning the boards for the groups fantastic 2012 release Ugly.The band booked 2 nights in Chicago at The Hideout for the recording to take place and the album is mix up of those two shows.

The group attacks its songbook in its now well honed fashioned, going after 14 tracks. Screamales love to play with extended jam parts while still managing tight precision/drop-on-a-dime-changes when they are needed. A track like "Foul Mouth" from Baby Teeth rolls in with a confident ease before banging back and fourth between the rhythm duo and guitar solos.

Overall Albini's no frills approach serves the band very well and while the group works hard to not make Females the Marissa Paternoster show, the live recording seems to push her vocals and guitar under the moving bass and pounding drums. Mike Abbate's bass in particular sounds fantastic but a clearer path to the forefront for Paternoster is desired at times, especially during solos.

The band shines brightest on their long standing road tested warhorses with this live document. "Lights Out" is always a show stopper and here at 7+ minutes it is a clear go to as the band plays with the songs extended intro, scorchingly slamming riffs, tempo changes and driving beat. Speaking of beats it is "Starve the Beat" that bubbles up as a highlight towards the middle and the killer album closing "Boyfriend" shows off chops, groove and style that the band excels at; closing things on a super high note.     

Perhaps it is simply the fact that we have had the great privilege to catch the band numerous times over the last few years but Live at The Hideout, while doing what it sets out to do, never pushes things to over the top status. That simply stated, is something the band does on a consistent, nightly basis. Listen to the album sure, but make sure you catch them live. 

We love this band, have written about them a ton, interviewed Marissa, etc. For some reason we thought this album would be their highpoint and I don't think it is (for us that is still Power Move maybe because that's when we first got into them though).

Again if you have never seen them this is probably an eye opener, but I feel like I have caught better versions/shows. Maybe I am just being to harsh or too in love with the shows I have caught. Either way, go see them, won't be long before they are in your town.

Buy the disk here,  catch the band live here peep some video below and see from the first one why it was better to have been there: 

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