A Raw Youth
It’s surprising that a band that only put out their first album 4 years ago has already opened for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Dead Weather, and toured with The Mars Volta, Deftones, The Dillinger Escape Plan and the Melvins; but that’s just Le Butcherettes for you. The power trio, with Chris Common on drums, Jamie Aaron Aux on bass and the band’s mainstay and frontwoman Teri Gender Bender on guitars and vocals, are known for their crazy live shows featuring severed pig heads, props, costumes and crazy antics coupled with their ferocious garage-punk sound. They put out their sophomore album last year and will be releasing their third album this September, their third with the Mars Volta’s Omar Rodríguez-López.
The album bursts open with the single, ‘Shave the Pride’, this track features a main verse that mirrors some of those from the post-punk revival groups of the early aughties that made you want to dance. Following that is ‘My Malley’, this track is a bit of stylistic change for the group, with synths and vocals that almost make it sound like an 80’s pop track, while still maintaining enough menacing bass to give the song edge. ‘Ready to Die Young’ is up next, maintaining the synths from the prior track but using a post-punk tone to produce a cool and sometimes spacey, sometimes 80’s track.
The fourth track, ‘La Uva’, featuring proto-punk icon, Iggy Pop, opens up with some old-timey recordings and breaks into a lurching junk-yard styled track, which sees Iggy and Teri harmonizing in Spanish over the verses and huge crescendos. ‘Sold Less than Gold’ is up next, this track features some melodic vocals from Teri, with a sound almost reminiscent of Brody Dalle’s 2009 side project, Spinnerette. The album’s next track, ‘Stab My Back’, is more familiar with its cool and apathetic sounding verse, big chorus, and the White-Stripes-esque sound of their first album.
The latter half of the album starts with the single, ‘They Fuck You Over’, this monstrously fuzzy track sees Teri singing about how ruling class mistreats minorities in her traditional Riot Grrl style and take-no-prisoner approach. ‘Witchless C Spot’ is up next, with a slow and lightly-industrial beat; the song lingers on with an astral yet heavy sound before crescendoing into the huge and spacey chorus. Following that is ‘the Hitchhiker’, Teri returns to a keyboard heavy song, with a track that’s all bits fun, dancey and aggressive.
The 10th track, ‘Lonely & Drunk’ sees the band grooving to an almost fun sounding keyboard riff which backs Teri’s lyrics about how even people who are lonely and drunk are happier than her. The Sea Shanty-esque song, ‘Oil the Shoe if the Critter Knew Any Better’ comes next, featuring a blend of keyboard backed verses with bright and heavy choruses. The closing track ‘My Half’ features guitar work from ex-Red Hot Chili Pepper’s member, John Frusciante. The track is a slow atmospheric song, that moves along with some fuzzy-phaser sounding bass and John’s smooth and psychedelic guitar backing Teri’s choir-eqsue vocals.
Overall, the album is a great outing, even if you don’t pick up on its political overtones. While not all of the songs are strong on their own, the album as a whole shows a great stylistic change for the band. ‘A Raw Youth’ may be a misleading title, because this album shows a more mature band who’s not afraid to continue and expand on the experimentalism of their past efforts, showing that they’re not just the one trick pony of Sin Sin Sin.
Review by Kristian Johnson