When most people think of Guadalajara, Mexico different things come to mind, however in almost all of those cases female-fronted garage punk bands are not among them. That may change over the next several years thanks to the band Le Butcherettes. After being recognized as "Best New Artist" at the 2009 Indie-O Awards, where they also snagged "Best Punk Record" for their Kiss & Kill EP the band wasted no time releasing their debut album Sin Sin Sin in 2011. They've followed that up with their latest release Cry Is for the Flies.
The album opens with "Burn the Scab" which sets the tone for this album; distorted guitars, great keyboard work and powerful raw vocals (all of which are done by frontwoman Teri Gender Bender) bring to mind PJ Harvey at her loudest. The song builds almost immediately to a primal throbbing level of volume where it, and the rest of the album, tends to remain.
"My Child" finds frontwoman Teri singing about the death of a child, which for someone who is only 25 is fairly heavy material to touch on whether it is based on her own life experiences or not. This song also shows that she has the ability to vary her vocal delivery within a song, something the band had hinted at taking place on this album after she took a more primal approach on the debut.
The next track, "Your Weakness Gives Me Life", has a great sax part in it. Which might sound odd since this is garage punk and not ska. But, as anyone whose heard X-Ray Spex or The Stooges album Fun House will tell you, sometimes saxophones can rock incredibly fucking hard and that's just what they do here. It also opens up the sound of the track and makes it stand out from the other songs around it.
Speaking of things that stand out from the other songs around it, the next track "Moment of Guilt" finds Henry Rollins making a guest appearance … on a spoken word track. The track itself is interesting as Henry gives a solid reading of his writing. However, it does nothing to add to the musical narrative of the album. Had the band opted to provide Henry with some musical backing behind the reading, it could have played a nice transitional role from the first half of the album to the second. But, the bare reading not only takes away from the flow of the album. It also takes away from what would likely be a very compelling piece of writing from Henry Rollins as well.
The next track, "The Gold Chair Ate the Fire Man," pulls you back in almost immediately with a solid riff that is certain to wake you up from the nap you took during Henry's previously mentioned speech. Once again, we find that Teri showing the versatility of her vocals, both in terms of range and delivery styles.
For all the ups this album has, it does get bogged down by songs that have similar guitar riffs, although the keyboard normally opens the sound up enough behind it that the tracks never become indistinguishable from one another. All in all, this is a strong sophomore effort by Le Butcherettes and for any faults that can be given; Teri is an incredibly strong songwriter for someone who is only 25. Another impressive factor is she seems to own the sound of the band and her bandmates work to build around that sound. Especially when one learns that the bassist for the band and the producer of this album is Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of Mars Volta fame. A man who on more than one occasion would find himself accused of dominating the creative process by his fellow bands members in both At The Drive In and Mars Volta.
This likely will not be the album that pushes the band into the upper levels of the independent music scene. However, given where her songcraft, songwriting and musical abilities are already, it would not be surprising to find this band mentioned in the same ranks as Screaming Females by the time their third album hits shelves.