By Gibson Merrick
Screaming Females are a pretty awesome three piece punk band from New Brunswick, New Jersey. They are headed by the 5’ 0” Marissa Paternoster, who looks kinda like a teenage dude, but that makes it all the more awesome when she blows you away with her wailing and kickass guitar playing. The band has been around since 2006, and since then has put out five albums, the most recent being 2012 Ugly, which I can never get enough of. I had high hopes for their newly released cassette / digital download-only EP, Chalk Tape, which offers fans seven new songs and a brand new approach to songwriting.
For the most part, the new approach works. But even after listening to the EP a few times, I had a hard time deciding how I felt about it. A major part of Screaming Females’ sound comes from Paternoster’s guitar, which isn’t utilized as heavily here, and the lo-fi production doesn’t add much to the band’s sound, even if they’ve experimented with it before. The A side is where you can hear the different approach in songwriting the most; songs like “Crushing the Kingdom” and “Wrecking Ball” take long longest to ease into. Meanwhile, all the songs on the B side sounded great right off the bat, but the standout would probably be “Green Vapors,” an upbeat song about a breasted monster under the bed. Ultimately, the EP works best when you hear it live. So unless you’re a die hard fan, I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to hear Chalk Tape, because it feels less satisfying than the band’s other efforts.