These women of intention laid down the gauntlet with their debut record ‘Sistrionix’ and now they’re back — three years in the making, and as deliciously distorted and gnarly as ever. With Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner at the production helm alongside the duo, vocalist and guitarist Lindsey Troy and drummer Julie Edwards have concocted a typically angsty record of rock, punk and grunge at its core, while still managing to grow and break free of previous sonic confines.
Recorded in Downtown LA and the San Fernando Valley, there’s no doubt that some of the Californian heat has been captured in opener ‘Royal Jelly’. From the song’s first chord the showcase of heavy guitars are so wonderfully filthy they’ll have you reaching for the nearest bar of soap in a way that only a genuinely great rock ’n’ roll song can. Scorching.
Having nailed the snarling rock sound, it’s also refreshing to hear elements of punk and grunge making an appearance too, all while exploring themes of love and self-assurance lyrically. Recent single ‘Gonnawanna’ possesses an introduction reminiscent of a potential 2006 indie anthem while ‘Grunge Bond’, as the title would suggest, is a nod to the imperative ‘90s genre. Showcasing Edwards’ percussion prowess faultlessly, the track is a brazen two and a half-minute whirlwind led by a pacing riff so infectious it threatens to buzz around inside your brain for weeks.
Channelling a sense of Riot Grrrl spirit and soul, ‘Smile More’ is a bold highlight on ‘Femejism’. Dripping in glorious reverb and led by a ferociously fuzzy guitar line, Troy drawls the line: “Yes I am a feminist but that isn’t why I started doing this.” This pertinent reminder (if the title of the record wasn’t enough) that rock ’n’ roll certainly isn’t bound by gender, is another of the LP’s recurring themes.
If ‘Sistrionix’ was Deap Vally as a brooding teenager, ‘Femejism' is the more grown up and wiser young adult. Strong and independent, it has just realised that it doesn’t need to impress you, regardless of the immaculate construction that can’t help but bowl you over.
Words: Shannon Cotton
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