Le Butcherettes [Album]

Le Butcherettes [Album]

Tuesday, 02 February 2016

A Raw Youth
CD by Le Butcherettes
Ipecac Recordings

Reviewed by G. Murray Thomas

Teri Gender Bender is my new rock star crush, following Patti Smith, Deborah Harry, and Shirley Manson. They are all beautiful (in unique ways), but more important, they all have attitude. Just as their beauty is individual, so is their attitude. Smith’s is expressed in a hardcore stare, daring you to deny her her place at the table with Keith, Jim, and Jimi. Harry’s is a knowing wink; Manson’s is a sneer.
Bender’s is a manic grin.
Whereas the other three always seemed in full control, part of Bender’s charm is how she seems on the verge of losing control, especially on stage (something I have only seen previously in Iggy Pop and Warren Zevon).  There is a total frenzy in her performances. This extends to their music, which might be described as chaos rock. It’s splintered and shattered, almost falling apart completely. But it’s not chaos for the sake of chaos. The frenzy is fueled by anger, anger at society’s imbalances, especially towards women. Le Butcherettes are an almost perfect pairing of subject matter and delivery style.
A Raw Youth, their new album, tones down that mania a bit, while retaining its energy and fury.
A smoother production than their previous albums gives their music a poppier sound. Of course, “poppier” is a relative term. Several songs are catchy and melodic, such as “Mallely,” which approaches being a love song. But that’s an anomaly. More representative is “Sold Less Than Gold,” which sounds almost sweet on the surface, but turns out to be about child prostitution.
Anger and aggression, raw edges, rule this album. In the opening song, “Shave the Pride,” Bender sings “the size of your rage drowns my urge for lovin’” and that could be the theme of the album. Songs like “Stab My Back,” “They Fuck You Over,” and “Lonely and Drunk”  are just as nasty and hard edged as they sound, both lyrically and sonically.
In the end, the production just puts a slightly shinier surface on the band, without disrupting the energy and emotion underneath. While radio play may be too much to hope for (despite guest appearances from Iggy Pop and John Frusciante), A Raw Youth could still serve as a great introduction to band that deserves more attention.


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