If you are a die hard fan of Teri Gender Bender and Le Butcherettes you were not disappointed with this new EP. If you recently discovered the band since the album’s release on Valentine’s Day, you were likely struck by Gender Bender’s crooked arrow of love.
From the opening track “Wounds Belong To Me” featuring Teri on acoustic guitar, singing into what sounds like an old cassette recorder, to the album’s closing track “Boom” dropping an 808 alongside contorted lead lines and idiosyncratic beats, and variations of electronic rock songs in between, Don’t Bleed is an eclectic 7 song journey through love and femininity’s deeper shades via one of rock music’s most colorful female artists.
In this album (EP) review Hazy Eye Music Media’s contributor Joseph Strand reviews Le Butcherettes’ Don’t Bleed released on February 14, 2020. “A must for burning and broken hearts alike.” Continue reading for Joseph’s full review. All words by Joseph Strand.
The album’s cover is a striking gateway to the songs that lie within. A young girl cradled in her mother’s arms, perhaps an ode to her own mother, but even more, an iconic image of femininity itself, set against the title “Don’t Bleed.” The title comes off as biting feminist sarcasm, or perhaps a precautionary message from love itself, as we are led through lamenting dimensions of loss that only love knows.
“Out For You” the EP’s second track, kicks into gear with the full band, igniting itself from the ashes of the opening track’s raw solo aesthetic, into the pulsing rock and electronic rhythms that drive the rest of the album. Perhaps an ode to her former younger self, an anthem of teenage lust for life that would drive her through an unforgiving world, onto a path of becoming, or just a reminder of how anger from loss can drive one to higher dimensions of self awakening. “Started a fire, gave me Satan. You started a fire, I’m re-awakened.”
“Don’t Bleed, You’re In The Middle Of The Forest”, the subsequent track, with it thumping bass grooves and whimsical lead lines, chiming like glimmers of moonlight penetrating the silhouettes of trees, enshrouding the wanderer. I can’t help but to hear a cry of predatory oppression in this track with lyrics like “Your wretched scent sickens me, but be sure I’ll follow where it may lead” and “We sit patiently surrounding you, waiting for your taste.” It’s difficult to know for sure who is the hunter and who is the hunted. Though it seems to put femininity itself into the role of the hunter and the hunted interchangeably, circling back to the fundamental truth that women themselves are the gateways to this mysterious world to begin with. Empowerment. “You’re alive thanks to my warm hands, don’t bleed you’re in the middle of the forest.” You were warned.
And that’s not all that’s lingering in the darkness. Tunisia as you may or may not know, has played an integral role in women’s rights and activism in the Arab world, since The Arab Spring began in the early 2010’s. The song ‘Tunisia’ begins with the line “And I say, I’ve been masturbating thinking of no one at all! And you may think that it is selfish of me, but I am no one at all!” This line hits hard at the notion of liberation while still drawing attention to an invisibility of women’s identity amongst hegemony of male dominated politics and even feminine elitism that exists within it. “Thought I’ve seen all of it. Guess I’m worth half of it. Thought I’ve seen all of it. Guess we’re just a small part of it all.”
Taking a step back from the political undertones to a more private perspective, “Love Someone” is an ethereal retreat that leaves room for one to reminisce on love past, love that has blown your mind and left you dry. “Pain is the game” says Teri. As she stands at the edge of a blackhole that was once a burning star, true love like no other. “Love someone that defies all the laws of gravity, tears through infinity” One of the album’s most relatable tracks across genders. Sweet in its melodies. The kind of song you cry making love to. All in all, Don’t Bleed is a masterful tale of love and femininity in multiple dimensions. A must for burning and broken hearts alike.