Little is known about the desert-roaming ramparts that scourer the freakier side of the deepest parts of the inner psyche, Death Valley Girls touch upon aliens, loss, and science-fiction, bringing with them a certain new level of originality in both song writing and musical sound. Comprised of mostly femme fatales, Death Valley Girls slide into frame with a killer sound and a new grasp on personality in music. Not only is their style incredible, but their debut record Street Venom is utterly fantastic in the way it keeps a continuous flow from track to track. Between the consistent ups and downs, Death Valley Girls take a head-on approach and never show a sign of losing focus or trailing off in an impassable or awkward direction.
Strong, surf-rock is the first approach that Death Valley Girls use to their advantage. “No Reason” is a cheerful, driving anthem that captures the essence of slick guitar moves from both Bonnie Bloomgarden and Larry Schemel, and the steady, but captivating percussion work from Patty Schemel who also performed earlier with Country Love’s band, Hole. A powerhouse movement between all the instrumentalists creates a massive amount of stable energy that bursts throughout and makes for one of the more memorable and impactful style choices. Even when Death Valley Girls are going in a full-throttle sprint, the action is still accessible and leaves room for everyone.
As Street Venom segues into “Sanitarium Blues,” Death Valley Girls go for more of a creeping style where the guitar seems to slither and Bloomgarden is almost passive-aggressive with her verses. She switches consistently between an abrasive yell that is heavily distorted behind this crunching microphone, and the other sections where her voice is angelic and when played in tandem with the dream-like guitar, makes for a beautiful combination. The break down is where Death Valley Girls are truly shining through and produce a rapid switch up between grasping snare hits and guitar off-beats that make for a great contrasting motion when used as a progressive piece into one of the slower tracks on the record.
The somber, but inviting chords reign for “Get Home,” Bloomfield’s graceful voice once again grazes against the contrasting instruments and creates a beautiful, but ultimately crushed style of singing that echoes with immense emotion. The guitars ring in what seems like forever while the percussion from Schemel is pounding, but not overly aggressive in the way it moves alongside the other instruments, creating a perfect sense of chemistry of both sound and tone. Bloomfield nearly cries, “All I wanna do is get home to you, all I wanna do is get home,” this is then the progressive piece that allows for a subtle guitar solo that fades into a sudden and short-lived silence.
“Shadow” is a completely different style of track than “Get Home,” it is more energetic and goes back to the enthusiastic singing of Bloomfield that is well matched with solid guitar works and once again, a stellar performance on the percussion that keeps the Death Valley Girls in a tight, well-rounded ball that never falters in losing that urgent flow that is so vital. Not only is the consistent changes a welcome and wonderful surprise, but every twisting turn is a fantastic progressing device that allows Street Venom to always feel fresh with every different listen.
Finally, as the Death Valley Girls appear to slowly slink away from the sunlight, they come crashing back in with the gradually building “Run Run Rocky” which combines different bridges that connect the track through percussion focused sections and chorus-like sections where the Death Valley Girls work together, banging out a boom of guitar, percussion, and vocals. The track, “Run Run Rocky” then takes a sudden shift into a solo where a keyboard synth is being played and it seems almost similar to a church organ and it continues to sustain its notes until a dead stop of silence.
The final two tracks are more rephrases of everything that Death Valley Girls have shown in the last 30-minutes. Between “Red Glare” and “Girlfriend,” they combine both a dead-end feel and then completely switch and create an energetic last dash that ends up becoming an outstanding closer for Street Venom.