Rose Mountain has Screaming Females bearing their fangs while simultaneously bearing their heart. The album opens with “Empty Head” an infectious catchy track that has the pop swagger and sensibility of the Ramones but the heaviness and grimy fuzz of Melancholy era Smashing Pumpkins. Screaming Females ability to meld sugary pop with aggressive rock is most apparent on the anthemic and catchy “Wishing Well.”
The theme of brokenness and loss runs through the album. The album sounds like a break up and often times these themes of emotional pain are likened to physical pain on songs such as “Ripe” which has Paternoster repeating “Peel the skin raw” or on the title track which repeatedly has the singer asking to be buried on “Rose Mountain.” Hopeless is the most vulnerable and most personal song on the album, with Paternoster admitting she is hopelessly in love with her significant other but she won’t ask them to stay and there’s nothing that can be done to resurrect their failed love. The album picks back up with the upbeat, catchy and aptly titled “Triumph.” “Triumph” along with “It’s Not Fair” deal with the aftermath of this failed love and have Paternoster out on the open road driving toward something new. “Criminal Image” ends the album and it shows the band having fun and jamming as Paternoster metaphorically gets back on her feet.
Rose Mountain is a great sounding, catchy, grimy rock album well worth the listen. Screaming Females successfully balance rock and pop in a way that is raw but not abrasive, sweet but not bubblegum, a balance that is often hard to come by.
by Charles Pfaff