2006 Epitaph Records
01. Beautiful Rune
02. Hot Piss
03. Dead In A Web
04. Warm Milk
05. You'll Be Happier With Lower Standards MP3
06. Ex Nuns / Dead Dogs
07. Totally Pregnant Teens
08. Bone Metal
09. Marry Mortuary
10. Religion II
11. Skull's Old Girlfriends
12. Retard And Feathered
When Rob Moran and Wes Eisold formed Some Girls a few years back as a side project built on their hardcore roots, it seemed instantly doomed to fall into side project purgatory after their debut 7" The Rains. After solidifying the lineup with the Locust's Justin Pearson, they stepped up from side project to full-on "super group" status and now in 2006, their fourth release and first official album arrives (as Moran departs) on Epitaph, one of the biggest indie labels on the planet. Unfortunately, as the band continues to develop and find its own identity, the intensity that fueled the group's earliest recordings faded a bit, replaced instead by more elaborate song structures and deliberate pacing. Some Girls have dialed back the fury a few notches and attempted to fill the holes left with deceptively sharp production and caustic guitar riffs. For many listens, it just didn't feel right. Listeners unwilling to embrace this obvious musical development will most likely be disappointed by the reigning in of the previously unbridled fury on Heaven's Pregnant Teens, but hopefully they can also appreciate the many good things about the record.
At just over twenty minutes, this record is actually longer than all the band's previously released material combined, however much of the disc's length has to do with excessive length of the disc's closer "Deathface," a nine minute piece of repetition that could have easily been left off without disappointing anyone. Rather than linger on my disappointment with this track, I'd rather focus on the first twelve tracks, many of which are excellent. While many of the bits and pieces that make up this record might not seem particularly inspired, the interplay between them all makes most of the songs work. The formulaic hardcore of "Hot Piss" works when followed by the bi-polar "Dead In A Web" and the schizophrenic "Warm Milk." In many ways, these guys have such a mastery of hardcore that even hearing them play within the preset parameters can be impressive.
The use of densely layered noise and distortion is one of the main things that helped define Some Girls on their last two EPs and Alex Newport (one of the most underappreciated engineers working today) has managed to put every piece of this puzzle together just right to create a sound that Backstabbers Inc. would have killed for. I really don't think there's a candidate for a single anywhere on this record, but it definitely could appeal to fans of either more traditional hardcore and punk or more progressive varieties.
Both Eisold's voice and his demeanor seem to have changed quite a bit since his American Nightmare days, as this album finds him less introspective and far more abstract. The general themes at work here seem to be teen sexuality, religion and drug abuse, but at times the sounds of words seem far more important than the words themselves. Regardless of what one might have been expecting, Eisold delivers yet again, proving he's got more in his bag of tricks than self-effacing tales of lost love and fits of rage. Oddly, the disc's most compelling lyrics don't appear in the liner notes; those to "Religion II," a brutal attack on Catholicism that features lines like "do you pray to the holy ghost when you suck your host" [Editor's note: this track is actually a Public Image Ltd. cover, therefore the lyrical omission]
Bottom Line: If I said that I wasn't a bit taken aback by some of the changes in Some Girls, I'd be lying. It took me quite a while to really come around to this record. It's certainly not quite as fun as All My Friends Are Going Death and it's certainly less strange than The DNA Will Have It's Say, Heaven's Pregnant Teens is ultimately a logical and welcome step in the growth of a band that finally seems to understand its own dynamic. If their first releases exhibited a regained youthful energy for these veterans, this record reveals an undeniable musical maturity.