Screaming Females - Castle Talk (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Screaming Females

Castle Talk (2010)

Don Giovanni Records

On their new album Castle Talk, New Brunswick, N.J. punk act Screaming Females further refine their raw sound. The tempos are a little slower; at this speed, the group recalls classic punk acts like the Dickies and Devo. But the tunes are still quite good. Over the course of 11 tracks, SF dishes out one distorted rocker after another.

"Laura and Marty" opens the album. It's one of the longest songs on the album, but it doesn't feel like it. Rather, the song lays out every twisting, pulsating move Screaming Females possess. Bassist Michael Abbate and drummer Jarrett Dougherty lay out a nervous framework before frontwoman/guitarist Marissa Paternoster starts dropping in thick, hearty riffs and jubilant word play ("Instead, in store / Cold hands, hot heart," for example). There's a second, equally catchy song buried in there where Paternoster actually starts telling the listener about Laura and Marty and their decision to attend a social gatherings, but it's over soon enough so Paternoster can whip out a succulent guitar solo.

"Laura and Marty" is a really good song, so good that it kind of takes a while for the band to meet its energy levels. Not that there's anything wrong with the songs that follow. "I Don't Mind It" is less enthusiastically rocking but still catchy. It's a good "track two" pick, but "Laura and Marty" opens with a lot of force. "Normal" comes close, though. Besides the acoustic track "Deluxe," the songs all generally have a similar energy. Even though few songs are as explosive as "Laura and Marty," Castle Talk still delivers plenty of tunes to appease folks' ear holes. "Fall Asleep" picks up the dirty/sexy sound Yeah Yeah Yeahs abandoned long ago. "Deluxe" offers a quick palette cleanse before jumping back into the punx. "I Don't Mind It" is just a darn cute love song.

At 37 minutes in length, Castle Talk rolls by without overstaying its welcome. It could maybe be a track shorter, and Paternoster's vibrato might grate on some people, but overall, it's a fine record. Click here to see the video for "I Don't Mind It" for a taste. Or, ya know, just consider that Screaming Females come from New Brunswick. That's all the pedigree you need.