Having played together for over a decade, New Jersey’s Screaming Females continued dedication to the DIY spirit has earned them a unique place in the history of 21st century guitar music. In a Screaming Females LP, the aggression of punk and the flair of 80s power-rock collide — and All At Once is no exception.
In All At Once, this torrent of energy and virtuoso solos is then directed at unanticipated subjects, like Agnes Martin, the American abstract painter whose work is renowned for its calculated restraint. In their unlikely way, Screaming Females give voice to the silent intensity of Martin’s intricately crafted canvasses.
Unlike the track “Agnes Martin” itself, “Deeply”, the second single taken from the LP, reflects the measured emotional depth that might be more readily associated with Martin’s brand of abstraction. A song about getting high, sharing songs and the intimacy of vulnerability, “Deeply” is an understated love-song from a group who are not renowned for leaving anything unsaid.
This tender moment doesn’t last for long, though. “Soft Domination” seems to satirise the culture of hyper-capitalist kink — “zero rest for the weary, capital mass, infinite growth” — found in the Fifty Shades... franchise and its imitators, as Marissa Paternoster sings: “I need you to know me, so no one else owns me”.
“Chamber For Sleep”, parts one and two, show the irreverently ambitious side of Screaming Females — a side they have been showcasing lately, with their recent Taylor Swift and Cheryl Crow covers.
In All At Once, the Garden State guitar heroes show they have as much, if not more, to say than ever before.