There are those who advocate practicing what they preach in a positive, yet effective way. Then there are those who cross the line, negatively attacking anyone who opposed their own beliefs. Fortunately, the artistic and musical world are a perfect outlet for a peace treaty, and the majority of times, the message gets across in a creative, non-violent matter. In the case of Punk bands, many have worked different issues/beliefs into their material, becoming a strong voice for their fans who can relate.
These thoughts in mind, since 2007, a very special El Paso/LA based Punk Rock band, Le Butcherettes, have been shedding light on dismal and complex times. Now on Friday, February 1st, they are set to release their fourth studio album, cleverly titled biMENTAL.
Led by vocalist/activist advocate Teresa Suárez Coscío, aka Teri Gender Bender, biMENTAL reflects a very intimate setting that gives you an inside view of the struggles of dealing with her mentally ill mother and growing up a Latina child being constantly judged. As an ode to her mother, and a reach out to those in need of mental help, the album also includes current members Alejandra Robles Luna on drums, Riko Rodríguez-López on guitar and synth, Marfred Rodríguez-López on bass, as well as features a few guest vocal artists including Jello Biafra, Alice Bag, and Mon Laferte to spark more interest.
Released through Rise Records, and thirteen songs in total, biMENTAL features production of Talking Heads member Jerry Harrison. An interesting ride, it starts off with the Punk-inspired “spiderWAVES” which concludes with an interesting speech by Jello Biafra. Spanning five and a half minutes, it sticks out as one of the more raw songs off of the album in a purposeful way. Next, the heartfelt “give UP” jumps into a more Blues Rock vibe that tells the tale of the internal battle of whether to leave or stay in the unfortunate situation. This is before lengthy ballad “strongENOUGH” chimes in with its empowering feeling, with strong, but feminine vocals.
The tone changes a bit with the more upbeat and charismatic “fatherELOHIM” which shortly cascades into the more synth-heavy “littleMOUSE,” which further seems to travel down the path of hopeless turmoil. Another notable change up in style comes with “nothingBUT TROUBLE,” which has a similar mood as a No Doubt mixed with a Siouxsie Sioux song. Then, the only song to feature Spanish lyrics, the beautiful “laSANDIA” features guest Vocalist Mon Laferte.
Leading toward the end, the funkier yet darker “struggleSTRUGGLE” comes in with a more old school Electro feel, expressing exactly what the title implies. Yet still, another interesting twist occurs with “motherHOLDS” with dynamic dueling vocals and background screams featuring Alice Bag. Finally, without further hesitation, the smoother journey of the last two songs -“sandMAN” and “BREATH” – send a message filled with a longing acceptance.
The magic of Le Butcherettes is that the unexpected is always expected, especially in a live setting where Teri Gender Bender and her band have been known in the past to wear fake blood covered aprons on stage while still bringing a classier style into play. Le Butcherettes always manage to bring something new to the table and biMENTAL, which must be listened start to finish in order to grasp the whole beautifully crafted story, is well done and one of a kind. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives biMENTAL 4.5 out of 5 stars.