When The Mars Volta went on hiatus and sequentially disbanded, I was interested to see what Omar Rodriguez-Lopez was going to get himself involved in. Soon his new band Bosnian Rainbows released their first, self-titled album and that was how I got introduced to Terri Gender Bender, the vocalist of Bosnian Rainbows and the leader of Le Butcherettes. I did some searching, found out about the band and had a listen to their debut album, Sin Sin Sin, which sounded terrific. And then things started to get even more exciting when the garage-punk band signed to Ipecac and worked with Chris Common (also has worked with Pelican, Mouth of the Architect, and more) as their mixing/mastering engineer, and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez as the band’s producer again (and contributing as a bassist for the album.) Things could not be better.
What is really amazing about Le Butcherettes is their energy. The band is able to sound energetic and retain a set level of intensity in all of their songs, from the garage anthem “The Gold Chair Ate the Fireman” to the more retro vibe of “Demon Stuck In Your Eye.” Then there are strange moments where Le Butcherettes start to toy with our minds. The more playful attitude of “Boulders Love Over Layers of Rock” shows the band under a quite different light while the emotional vibe of “Shame, You’re All I’ve Got” is in a league of its own. And of course, in Cry Is For The Flies the more infernal and mind-bending moments are also present, for instance in “Normal, You Were.” And even when they go into more mid-tempo territory, Le Butcherettes do not lose any of their edge, something apparent in tracks such as “Your Weakness Gives Me Life” and especially in the opus “My Child.” Of course that does not mean that they do not have their more frantic moments, being absolutely manic in the opening song, adding an amazing breakdown and saxophone parts in “Your Weakness Gives Me Life” and going completely nuts in “Poet From Nowhere.”
Apart from their energy and the structure of their songs, Le Butcherettes are able to throw in some really great hooks. Their guitar work is exceptional throughout the album. The background guitar about one minute into “Shame, You’re All I’ve Got” is brilliant in giving more drive to the song, and the lead guitars in “Normal, You Were” are just insane. But still what really got me was their use of synths and keys in this album, coming straight in from the opening song and leaving their mark. Le Butcherettes always find interesting sounds for the specific song, from the more straight forward sounds of “Boulders Love Over Layers of Rock” and “Shame, You’re All I’ve Got” to the hellish sounds about two minutes in “My Child” really messing with your mind. Especially the synths in “My Child” tie in perfectly with that disgusting liquid sound on the bass, taking the whole track to a whole different level.
On top of all that you have a vocal performance that really nails it. It is not just that Terri Gender Bender’s vocals are good, but the way they are processed and experimented with works great with the music. From the psychotic performance of “Demon Stuck In Your Eye” and the PJ Harvey-invoking “My Child,” everything fits together perfectly. The radio-like effect in “My Child” and in the chorus of “Demon Stuck In Your Eye” offers a more retro vibe. The backing vocals in “The Gold Chair Ate the Fireman” give more of an impact and the chorus of “Your Weakness Gives Me Life” reaches an almost anthemic height. But it is the more emotional performances that really steal the show, especially in songs such as “Shame, You’re All I’ve Got” and the title track, with the vocals just flowing so naturally, being more in your face. And Cry Is For The Flies also includes a spoken word performance from none other than Henry Rollins in a very curious conversation between a man and his guilt. Really damn interesting if you ask me!
Cry Is For The Flies is a very well laid out album, with Le Butcherettes managing to throw in all those different sides of their sound. At times they appear lively and upbeat and, at others, dark and experimental. But they always remain inspired and fascinating.
9.0 / 10
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