Le Butcherettes ‘A Raw Youth’ Review: Mexican power-trio blow the doors off with their incendiary third album.
Youth doesn’t mean young. It’s the essence of being resilient against so many of life’s struggles. In every decade or era, there’s always a rebel who gives inspiration for the poets to write about. That person holds the light. These songs tell those tales.
That’s the mission statement from Le Butcherettes frontwoman Teri Gender Bender in regards to their third, terrifically searing album A Raw Youth (due September 18th via Ipecac Recordings).
Opening track and lead single Shave The Pride is a caustic blast of punk-blues swagger, but its nervous energy belies lyrics about keeping one’s ego and emotions in check: Take a step back and shave that pride off/Take a second/Open your mind/Take a step back and stop this madness.
It’s that sense of self-examination and social responsibility that infuses the entire album, most notably on Sold Less Than Gold. Its airy, upbeat New Wave arrangement lies in unsettling contrast with lyrics about the Mexican sex-slave trade: You sold me at age 13/I see you love me/When I’m suffering.
They Fuck You Over has 90’s-grunge urgency with its monolithic fuzzed-out bassline and Gender Bender’s call-to-arms chorus.
A Raw Youth is impressive in its mix of stylistic elements while keeping a unified front of rock efficiency. Producer Omar Rodriguez Lopez keeps things sparse yet dynamic: take Witchless C Spot, with a sleek electronic sheen, that when combined with Gender Bender’s caustic wail recalls the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, or the slick neo-80’s funk of Stab My Back, with its magnetic driving riff and pulsing bass and percussion.
The album is also notable for the band’s choice of collaborators: Iggy Pop lends his inimitable croon on the spooky La Uva, which recalls The Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows with its Middle-Eastern flavor and wormhole percussion. And ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante adds trippy gluey guitar on the downright proggy-My Half.
A Raw Youth continues the group’s upward trajectory as one of modern rocks most dynamic acts. While it may not be as raw as past efforts, it shows a compelling evolution of sound and approach.
Gender Bender’s ascension to iconic rock star heroine on par with her musical inspirations feels inevitable: in this era of indie-rock timidity, who would dare stand in her way?
You can pre-order Le Butcherette’s ‘A Raw Youth’ via Amazon and iTunes below: