When Screaming Females recorded their 2015 LP, Rose Mountain, with producer Matt Bayles (known for his work with metal bands like Mastodon, Isis and These Arms Are Snakes), many critics and fans were left divided; some saw their new crisp and bulky sound as a necessary step forward, while others found that Marissa Paternoster's unbridled punk-weaned guitar and vocal howl were left tempered and sterilized.
On All at Once, their seventh LP, the New Jersey trio bring Bayles back into the fold for a set of songs so precisely crafted and so intricately written that it's almost impossible to slight, no matter how you feel about the album's sonic palette. Much of the first portion of this 15-track/50-minute album — including the simply-written but commanding opener "Glass House" and the sleek and rhythmic "Agnes Martin" — benefits from the manner in which Paternoster works off of bassist King Mike and drummer Jarrett Dougherty. The trio truly dip into unexplored musical territory as the album moves forward, demonstrated on tracks like the keyboard-hung dirge "Deeply" and the intricate prog/space-rock dual suite of "Chamber for Sleep" and the hard-hitting classic rock closer "Step Outside."
On All at Once, Screaming Females possess an undiluted vision and seem to execute it flawlessly — and most significantly, without peer. (Don Giovanni)