Relentless, unwavering, and decidedly sinister, this debut self-titled album fronted by Denée Segall is an absolute beast of an album. Lovers of femme punk and crusty noise grunge will be head over heels for this breath of fresh air into the genre. The C.I.A. has replaced the typical thrashing of a drum set for a reverbed out drum machine and chugging guitar and bass rhythm. This gives the album both a throwback 90’s riot grrrl sound and a modern femme punk revival feel. The album’s dark aesthetic is summarized with the music video to their first single Pleasure Seeker which is an unabashedly sexy female punk song full of yells, screams, and lo-fi vibes.
The album’s first track Fear lets you know what the next 20 minutes have in store for you. A slow slog of simple drum machine rapidly speeds up into the album’s signature raging tempo as Denée begins her rapid-fire vocals. The tracks all generally find themselves hitting your ears at a rapid staccato – an exception is the track Power which is dominated by the echoes of the drum machine slowly waltzing in 3/4 time. One of the other stand-out tracks on the album is Oblivion clocking in at just 1:10 long. This is the album’s 2nd single, chocked full of fuzzed out guitar and Denée ominously yelling to the listener:
“Nowhere to hide /
Better swallow your pride /
Cause your time’s running out /
Her lyrical writing casts a dark and fearful mood throughout the album. We can’t get enough of it.
Many reviewers and writers have been attributing this album to Ty Segall, the prodigious wonderchild of the 2010s whose dozens of albums across a handful of projects have been a defining pillar of the grunge/psychedelic/garage/punk revival. It’s true that he plays bass and produced the album and he’s, well, the lead singer’s husband. We don’t want to attribute a woman’s absolutely killer album to a man, no matter how prominent he is in the music community. This is a thrilling introduction to Denée Segall’s music career. Her song writing and vocals are a world away from Ty’s work and it stands distinctly on its own. We hope that there is more of The C.I.A. on the way. The self-titled debut is short – not even 25 minutes long. Check out this bite sized album if you want to enter 2019 fired up and full of femme punk energy – it’s the most refreshing release in the genre we have heard in years.