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Screaming Females - Desire Pathway (Album Review)

Tuesday, 21 February 2023 Written by Maddy Howell

A ‘desire pathway’ is a route forged as an alternative to assigned roads, worn over time into a flat surface by individuals who have deemed it the best direction in which to travel. For a seasoned band such as Screaming Females, establishing such paths has almost become second nature.

Over a decade and a half into their career, the New Jersey natives have carved out their own unique avenue within the punk rock landscape, and on album eight their intrepid journey only continues.

Kickstarting affairs with an out of character repetitive synth buzz, opener Brass Bell instantly sets out the album’s exploratory intention before snapping back into familiar territory.

An anthemic number guided by driving riffs and Marissa Paternoster’s powerful vocal performance, it’s a showcase of what the trio do best, but a reminder that they’re anything but a one-trick pony.

Their first album in five years, ‘Desire Pathway’ finds the band more in tune with one another’s creative intentions than perhaps ever before. Directly addressing the end of a relationship for the first time in their discography, Paternoster’s lyrical contributions may appear bleak in isolation, but there’s power to be found in each moment the three-piece create collaboratively. 

Whether it’s the boundless energy and shredding guitars of cuts like Desert Train and Let Me Into Your Heart, or more sombre, introspective moments like Let You Go and So Low, each song rises and falls at the perfect moment, with no solo overplayed, no drumbeat too forceful, and each bassline fundamental.  

With passion as their throughline, ‘Desire Pathway’ is a fitting continuation of Screaming Females’ story so far. An album of stellar power-pop and alt-rock hard hitters that feel distinctly polished yet still embody the DIY spirit they’ve long embraced; the trio’s latest evolution is proof that fortune favours the bold. 

Screaming Females Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon June 12 2023 - BRIGHTON Hope & Ruin
Tue June 13 2023 - BRISTOL Rough Trade Records
Wed June 14 2023 - LONDON Oslo
Thu June 15 2023 - LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
Fri June 16 2023 - GLASGOW Nice n' Sleazy
Sat June 17 2023 - MANCHESTER YES (The Pink Room)

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