Straight out of Mexico, Le Butcherettes came out with their fourth studio album bi/MENTAL, and it’s as artsy as you expected. This album was my first impression of the band and to be quite honest, at first it exhausted and confused me. Even looking at the album art couldn’t help but think they were trying too hard; with strange costumes and set, and the weird song titles I don’t understand. Well, let me tell you that it all fits together in a way that was thought about in detail by the artists. Everything was thought about even the way song titles are pronounced with an emphasis on the last words (i.e. “dressed/IN A MATTER OF SPEECH”). Did you just say that second part louder with your head a little pushed forward? If you didn’t, I suggest you do because it feels way more immersive that way.
Teri Gender Bender, frontwoman, vocalist, guitarist, and keyboardist of the group takes a millisecond to smack her style in your face. She’s super punk rock in her attitude, yet she exposes her talent in a more indie pop rock manner and gives the whole framework of the album a seriously weird and emotional allure. You can hear how liberated she feels through her art; how guttural her story telling is. She’s a wild performer be it live or otherwise. Many instances of trippy and uncomfortable sound sampling, vocal effects, and featuring artists (such as in “spider/WAVES” and “mother/HOLDS”) permeate this album, but it’s the good kind of uncomfortable which makes you question and deconstruct/reconstruct your whole being. I think that’s exactly what the main intent here was, and whether it’s your thing or not, it’s THEIR thing, and they do it damn well.
The entire composition of this record is absolutely perfect and it should be mentioned given the fact that it’s something a lot of newer artists totally ignore. Maybe it’s because most mainstream music today is written for radio bullshit and cash grab qualities? This isn’t that at all, even when tunes like “in/THE END” and “strong/ENOUGH” could definitely be mainstream radio hits. It is a stand alone art to put together an album that is a story; not a story with words telling you what the story is, but a recital of your heart, an emotional journey that evolves with time. Like the perfect playlist at a party that has higher moments and lower moments, tender moments, and just plain “What the fuck?!” moments, this record has them all, and has them in the most exemplary places necessary to create a nearly flawless album structure.
I’d like to commemorate the rest of the band on this recording as well, Alejandra Robles Luna, Marfred Rodríguez-López, and Riko Rodríguez-López, for their absolutely well delivered supporting roles in the making of good music in perfect context. There’s just something about a certain indie distortion and drum beat, that make you want to get in your car and drive until the music stops.
In the end, first impressions are garbage, as I learned mine was. So, the next time you say some nonsense in your head about how you wont like it, set your ego aside and pay attention a little more to something besides yourself. bi/MENTAL turned out to be a nice lesson in the screw-your-opinion-without-experience department and if you’d like to hear something totally different than anything else you’ve heard before, this one will surely please you.
Written by Talia Plante
*edited by Danielle Kenedy