Le Butcherettes sound passionately committed to their craft on the noisy punk band’s newest album, bi/MENTAL, out now on Rise Records. That craft includes the band members themselves so that the tracks present an outpouring of personality both in a way that establishes the speaker’s own perspective and abruptly takes the listener along for the ride.
This personality almost immediately sticks out as a defining feature of the record, expressed through every element from the vivid lyrics to the music itself down to the album art, which features vocalist Teri Gender Bender in traditional Chichimeccan garb in honor of her grandmother, who was a family musician. Throughout the release, her work feels more committed to painting an engaging picture than hitting a particular technically proficient point just for its own sake, and that elevates the project.
The presentation proves rather straightforward and direct as the band zero further in on what has often set them apart over the years. There’s a galloping energy at work, and at the same time, there’s a careful introspection present, too. These elements unite to craft unique emotional spaces that are both substantively self-sustaining and allow the listener to branch off into their own understandings and experiences.
Teri’s vocals often take center stage, providing a form of support for the whole experience as she confidently weaves between concepts and even extremes. Noisy punk rock music fills in the gaps as her bandmates offer a nuanced, carefully selected take on their emotional dashes into the crevices left by our human experience. Often the music feels itself alive as it twists in a fashion well outside of traditional conventions in what can only be described as the pattern of our ever-shifting, oftentimes deeply shaky lives spread across this planet.
This time around, there’s a clear focus on the triumphant aspect of the band’s music as Le Butcherettes make their way across bi/MENTAL to what ends up an epic finale. Teri Suarez (her real name) sings that she’s “strong enough” to move on past a toxic relationship at one point and thanks to the passion and human touch she presents in her vocals, she’s legitimately convincing that we’re all strong enough to rush right on past the tangled web of relationships that build up over time as we make our way through this strange place.