For many, ‘Le Butcherettes’ is shorthand for ‘Teri Gender Bender’s insane stage presence.’ The band is her brainchild, with a semi-rotating lineup around her. She also does a great job bringing this energy to the studio. Though while the result is consistently good (as it is once again on A Raw Youth), you wonder if there’s a hidden, missed opportunity.
Imagine her joining forces with a more gut-punching backing band, for instance. Le Butcherettes experiment with the various boundaries of garage rock, especially with Gender Bender’s synth, but you just know she could melt more faces.
There are a couple notable exceptions to this. “La Uva“s gnarly instrumentation sounds like a live Tobacco track, especially with Iggy Pop’s basement-deep counter-melodies sounding, at first listen, like a pitched-down vocoder. Between the neck-cracking grooves and Teri’s Rodriguez-Lopez-y guitar noodles, “Witchless C Spot” brings enough to the plate to support lines like so:
But elsewhere, you’ve got campy, old-school horror-movie organ chords punching out an attempted rape scene between a “Hitch Hiker” and her predator (both roles played by Teri):
Despite her voice’s much higher natural register, she’s able to give the rapist’s role just as much creep-factor as Greg Puciato did on The Dillinger Escape Plan’s similar track “Setting Fire to Sleeping Giants.” The overall effect here isn’t nearly as intense due to the instrumental. Maybe the organ’s levity adds a surreal feel, but that still will never burrow as deeply into your skin. On other tracks, such as “Shave the Pride, “Sold Less Than Gold,” “Lonely & Drunk,” etc., it’s not so much a match of camp to darkness; they just have straight-ahead riffs that always work, but never stand out.
Since three-piece garage stuff is the Butcherettes steez, I would love to see her front METZ. Alex Edkins has an awesome snarl, but it’s not for everybody, particularly his nasally, post-grunge inflection.
Gender Bender, on the other hand, is untouchable. Plus her hitch hiker rape victim stories hit harder than rants about “Wait[ing] in Line” at “shopping mall[s]”, truth be told. She ventured out for Bosnian Rainbows, but let’s face it: love them or hate them, their sound is super sleepy. And that’s not really Suárez at her best.
Still, she can carry any album, and this one is no exception.