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Joshua X

CD of The Week

Week of 2/18/19

    Le Butcherettes - bi/MENTAL (Rise)

    Le Butcherettes burst on the scene in 2011 with the raw, powerful Sin Sin Sin, introducing us to powerhouse frontwoman Teri "Gender Bender" Suarez. Her fiery, intense voice and wild stage presence channeled her intense feminist anthems into something unforgettable. The fourth Le Butcherettes record, bi/MENTAL, has landed, bringing few changes to their well-honed sound.

    The lineup of Le Butcherettes has always shifted and morphed, but Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of The Mars Volta has almost always been on board, as a producer or player. This time around, he has stepped aside so the legendary Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads could take over behind the boards. (Though there are two other Rodriguez-Lopez brothers currently in the group.)

    Album opener "spider/WAVES" features a spoken word rant from the Dead Kennedys' Jello Biafra and some cool guitar riffing. (and yes, all the song titles are stylized like that...) "give/UP" is one of the catchier tracks on bi/MENTAL and "father/ELOHIM" rocks hard with some big horn parts. "mother/HOLDS" features wailing vocals from 70s feminist punk veteran Alice Bag.

    Teri's lyrics can either be oblique and ominous or very direct, as in the case of the breakup songs "give/UP" and the single "strong/ENOUGH." It's hard not to misinterpret the chorus of "My heart is headed out the door/Don't need your abuse no more." However, as she's made clear in interviews, these songs are actually about breaking up with her mother, whose history of abusive behavior towards Teri stems from her diagnosis as bipolar (hence the album title).

    Throughout their past few records, the Le Butcherettes sound has slowed down a notch or two, with a lot of noisy-but-moody sonics. But overall, you know what you're getting from the band by now: careening, powerful vocals over trippy, heavy rock sounds.

    But the best way to experience Le Butcherettes is to see Teri Gender Bender's live performances for yourself. They're back in Philadelphia on March 1st at Milkboy.
    Review by Joey O.

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