Screaming Females – Empty Head (Stream)

by Steven Spoerl

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All of the evidence Screaming Females have been providing us of late seem to indicate that their upcoming album, the exquisitely titled Rose Mountain, could easily become their finest work to date. While most people seem intent on calling Ugly their crowning achievement, the debate over their previous “best record” had been endless. Even with Ugly in the mix, the separation between that record and, say, Power Move, isn’t all that sizeable. All of their records are absurdly strong pieces of work that feel gargantuan and genuinely complete, yet the songs they’ve been teasing Rose Mountain seem to exceed even that absurdly high level. “Ripe“, “Wishing Well“, and even “Let Me In” (the B-side to “Wishing Well”) all rank among the best songs the band’s ever done and that winning streak’s being extended with their most recent teaser track, “Empty Head”.

As was the case with “Wishing Well” and “Ripe”, the band seems to have opted to eschew their more abrasive tendencies to create something that pushes their arresting melodic sensibilities to new extremes. Bandleader Marissa Paternoster seems to be dragging her main project towards the realms that occupied the extraordinary Holy Hell, the last album from her solo project, Noun. There’s an undeniable pop bent to “Empty Head”, which features yet another chorus that finds the band swinging for the fences and connecting with a startling emphasis. It’s a less intimidating affair than a lot of the band’s past work but yet another indication that basements simply won’t be enough to contain this band or their sound. If Ugly was their breakthrough effort, expect Rose Mountain to push them into even higher echelons. Just don’t expect them to lose sight of their roots. For all they’ve accomplished in terms of stature, Screaming Females are still a band who are very comfortable with where (and who) they are.

Listen to “Empty Head” below, with it’s brilliant Paternoster time-lapse art video, and order Rose Mountain as soon as it’s out from Don Giovanni.