Review: Screaming Females ‘Desire Pathway’

A ‘desire pathway’ is one of those paths carved outside of the determined sidewalks by the collective will of people for whom it was obvious which was the best way to go. The trio Screaming Females are currently seventeen years and eight albums into finding their way in the world, and they’ve got a nice path of their own figured out, laid out by the stable line-up of singer and guitarist Marissa Paternoster, Mike Abbate on bass and Jarret Dougherty on drums. The band is known for a mix of different rock styles, which is a lot to take in, but turns into a smooth drink in their skilled hands.

Screaming Females 'Desire Pathway'

The opening synth sounds anticipate the emotional range explored on Desire Pathway. Things might seem super sweet on first glimpse, but there’s a twisted side to all of it. Tight riffing drives forward opening track Brass Bell, a composition that shines in the guitar work, while the rhythm section pummels all the way through, and the vocals soar with a refreshing directness.

Desert Train has a great guitar intro before the song punks up with plenty of power. It’s awesome how adept Marissa is at pairing tight and dynamic guitar work with an abundance of vocal hooks. The lead work is excellent, displaying tasteful, heartfelt playing. Next track, Let You Go, brings the voltage down a notch in a more sombre style which the band is clearly skilled at, reaching a fun grungy chorus that is a compositional triumph.

Screaming Females show a ton of skill for crafting great songs based on imaginative guitar work that are great platforms for Marissa’s awesome voice…

Beyond The Void waltzes into outer space while detailing some enchanting imagery while Mourning Dove is a joyful groove that’s a treat for the ears, but even in somewhat lighter musical territory, emotional heft is always deposited. Things might take off, but solid ground is always close and palpable in the harder edges of this band. These two are sneakily lovely tunes that wormed their way into my heart, and the perfect length to want to play them on repeat. The first five tracks are all extremely solid, which is usually a sign of a great band doing good work.

It’s All Said And Done is a rocky tune that brings to mind some classic rock stylings. Ornament is a somewhat poppier tune with a strong ‘90s feel. So Low is a statement featuring only guitar, vocals, and a ton of character that held me in suspense throughout. Let Me Into Your Heart sees a return to hooky anthemic powers of earlier tracks, as well as prominent guitar work on, then last track, Titan, is another slab of grungy riffing brimming with old school angst.

Production across the album is great, with a lot of subtle detail balanced in a great interplay of many elements. The guitar tones are excellent across every track, and Marissa is a vocalist and guitarist of tremendous personality and character in both her voice and her playing. On Desire Pathway, the Screaming Females show a ton of skill for crafting great songs based on imaginative guitar work that are great platforms for Marissa’s awesome voice and lyrics.

Label: Don Giovanni Records
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: Goro Riffs