14 October 2015

Le Butcherettes - A Raw Youth

I have been meaning check this band out for a long time and with this new album I have no excuse not to listen to them.  This band in question here is Le Butcherettes and the main reason I have been wanting to listen to them is they are a band which features the talents of Teri Gender Bender.  I first heard her when she was singing in Bosnian Rainbows which features ex-At The Drive In/Mars Volta guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López.  As this blog takes up a lot of time when it comes to listening to stuff, so now that this new Omar Rodríguez-López produced record I can mix business with pleasure once more.  This is the third album which is released on Ipecac records, so already it has my interest being on one of the strangest labels in the world (any place where Ginger Wildheart's Mutation, The Melvins and an album like Mondo Cane by Mike Patton) is a wonderful label.  The cover is a mysterious one, the image of a pair of eyes and a sword earring hanging off a scarf wrapped around a head is one of those images which intriguing the audience.  So now it is time to finally hear Le Butcherettes...

The first song is called “Shave the Pride” and straight away you are taken to a sublime slice of alternative rock/pop that is both deviant and easy on the ears on the ears.  It has a punk attitude beneath the lyrics of caution about being closed minded, it hooks everything together and the vocals of Teri Gender Bender makes the music from Teri Gender Bender, Chris Common & Jamie Aaron Aux sound like the sort of sonic indie that made bands like the Pixies, Husker Du and other band sound so exciting.  It might not share the styles of those bands, but it give the listener the same level of excitement when the music starts.  “My Malley” starts with haunting keys over a simple riff that develops into one of the best songs I have heard in 2015; this is not a flippant statement here, once this song is played then all other songs do not stand a chance in my head for the rest of the day.  It is a serious contender for the blog’s song of the year with its surreal music, beautiful lyrics and catchy presence which makes the sun shine no matter what time of day it is played.  I cannot oversell this song, it makes the world a better place for me.  But it is not a downhill slope from here, but the title of the next song – “Reason to Die Young” – might suggest so.  It is a fierce number that takes no prisoners and holds you by the personals whilst it drags you along.  It is a pop-rock number that would not sound out of place at a rock club, indie club or normal nightclub – it is not genre specific and it is a close second to “My Malley” on this album, it is another class song at the beginning of this album.  “La Uva” starts with a fanfare that changes into a bass heavy, psychedelic number that mixes the high end female vocals of Teri Gender Bender and complemented by the vocals of special guest Iggy Pop which sounds like a duet between the devil and an angel in Spanish.  It is an interesting number which takes a few listens to get into, but once you have full comprehended the song it is one of the numbers of the record.  The end rumblings can make glasses fall off tables if played loud enough as well – brilliant.

“Sold Less Than Gold” is a number I go back and forwards with; sometimes it is just what the doctor ordered and it uplifts my mood with its horn section keyboard sound and sublime vocals enthralling the soul, other times it does not hit the spot and it really is down to my own personal mood.  I think it is a great song  which is only just over two minutes long and today it is another drop of sunshine, but it is a one that does not rest easy for me – damn my awkward musical mind!!!! Next is “Stab My Back” and this bass thumping number sounds like a declaration of war on two face bastards who need a slap, it is a tremendous number that has that swagger of a top quality song.  It struts like a peacock on display and the bridge is one of the highlights of the album.  With “My Malley” and “Reason to Die Young” is completes a trilogy of songs that define this album. After this is the politely titled “They Fuck You Over” is a dirty punk rock number that grips you with its anger at people who try to fuck you over and a warning about what to do to them if they try again.  It is a fist pumping number that makes me think of some old school punk numbers by Discharge for some reason, maybe it is the simplicity of the song and the truth behind it – either way, it is fucking awesome and I would not like to be on the receiving end of this band if you have pissed them off.  With a swirling bass sound and dramatic drumming, “Witchless C Spot” comes in with a whole new attitude for this album once again.  It is a quite/loud/quite number with explosions for choruses and strong and resilient verses of tension to build to those choruses that sound like a release of energy.  Once more I am wondering why I have not listen to this band beforehand and how I can get hold of the rest of their collection – it is a feeling that has haunted me during this album.

“The Hitch Hiker” is the song on the album that does not really work for me, I think it is the keyboard sound that does not work for me.  It is not a bad song by any means, but it is the one that I struggle with the most after many listens.  “Lonely & Drunk” sounds as if it has all the time in the world to get to its point, the beginning sounds very spars and empty – despite the amount of noises that are swirling around the song.  It keeps this slow pace and sounds as if it is an industrial influenced number, it is very distinct to the rest of the album and a track I have returned to a lot.  It does end in a flourish when builds up the tempo as the song ends, once more Le Butcherettes have created another class song.  The penultimate number “Oil the Shoe if the Critter Knew Any Better” is a number that sounds like the world might be going to hell in a handbag, but as it heads that way Le Butcherettes are going to make a glorious noise towards the black abyss.  Once more it was not the most immediate number for me, but it does reveal more with each listen and is totally worth the effort with each subsequent play – it is a true grower.  Ending this record is “My Half” which is a perfect place to end this crazy record, it is a looping vocal track, repetitive guitar riff supplied by the brilliant John Frusciante and bass that keeps the audience going, but all along the way further sections are laid onto of the base track and it slowly becomes louder and louder as we head toward the end.  Eventually it breaks with a guitar solo that cracks this song as the noises keep looping and it brings the curtain down on this record with one of the more outlandish tracks of the record.

As I stated when reviewing “Witchless C Spot” - I am wondering why I have not listen to this band beforehand and how I can get hold of the rest of their collection – it is a feeling that has haunted me during this album.  Apart from one track really, it is a strong and beautiful album that combines a lot of style but is firmly focused on the alternative side of the musical spectrum.  I have gone backwards and forwards on what mark to give the album as the performances deserve to be recognised and I did not want to under or over sell it.  But I think Teri Gender Bender, Chris Common & Jamie Aaron Aux (together with special guest Iggy Pop & John Frusciante) have created one of the best records of 2015.  I am not sure if the rest of the team will feel the same, but fuck ‘em – up there with FFS, Faith No More, Sleaford Mods and others in my list, buy it now.

9 out of ten – Almost perfect, almost…..

Top track – My Malley

You can visit the Le Butcherettes website here

You can follow their activities on Facebook here

You can also visit their Instagram page here

You can visit the Le Butcherettes page on Ipecac records here (which also has a link to the Ipecac webstore as well)

You can stream A Raw Youth on Spotify here

You can stream A Raw Youth on Deezer here

You can stream A Raw Youth on Tidal here

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