Screaming Females are one of those rare examples of a band who fester so long in the dark — here, the teeming basements of New Brunswick, New Jersey — that they sour into something great by the time anyone’s heard of them. In this trio’s case, the ingredients are pretty simple: bouncy garage pop, evil Grace Slick vocals, stoner sludge, and singer/ax slinger Marissa Paternoster’s prodigious Guitar Center Stratocaster noodling. It’s a dubious list, and one that deserved a deadline extension.
They dropped their third full-length last year just as things were heating up on tours with Dead Weather and Dinosaur Jr. Now, on their fourth, Paternoster and company have things down to second nature. The left turns from Sabbath dirge to fleet ’90s guitar pop work together like mutant refugees, and confronting them is like coming face to face with a duckbilled platypus for the first time.
“Laura and Marty” mixes up a thunderquake riff with Ramones throwback bridge and a coffee-nervous J. Mascis guitar solo. “Ghost Solo” hops back and forth between post-punk groove and muscle-car stomp. The album is full of this kind of mish-mash, but it never feels forced or too clever. In fact, it’s the apparent lack of thought that makes the whole thing work.