Female Pop … With an Edge

Darrell Kinsey
Red and Black

When New York-based Antigone Rising takes the Tasty World stage tonight, the five piece all-female group will perform songs from their first album, simply titled “Rock Album,” and their first live CD, “Say It! an-TIG-uh-nee.”

The phonetics in the live album’s title refer to both the band’s name and the icon from Greek legend. The band sees her as the first female rebel.

While “Say It! an-TIG-uh-nee” is not a rebellious album, the Antigone Rising sound is unlike any other contemporary female group. Lead guitarist, Cathy Henderson said the real rebellion is simply the fact that the band is comprised of only females.

“You see the reaction on people’s faces when we walk on stage, and we’re like ‘Oh yeah, we’re all girls,'” she said.

In these days of Spice Girls and solo-artists from the Mickey Mouse Club, Antigone Rising is able to address femininity, love and other pop music issues while still creating decent rock ‘n’ roll.

The first track, “Right or Wrong,” concludes with a throbbing “yeah” on each beat for several measures. “Bitter Song” ends similarly except “yeah” is replaced with “no.”

The group’s backing vocalists are sisters, Cathy and Kristen Henderson, who also share in the song-writing duties with Cassidy.

On “Pretty Girl,” Cathy switches to distortion and palm mutes, proving she is familiar with all varieties of rock.

The melodies on “Say It! an-TIG-uh-nee” are diverse with counterpoint at times.

The song “Broken” has the decorum of a Jewel hit with a flutey acoustic hammering on and off and lyrics like “I am a diamond, and I cannot be broken.”

The tracks often shift styles in mid-song brought on by the beats of drummer Dena Tauriello. “Storybook Romance,” for example, sounds like a scary, Middle Eastern tune then all of a sudden, it starts to jangle about like ska.

On “Right or Wrong” Tauriello said that the time signature shifts for an interesting effect.

“It starts in 6/8, goes to common time and then back to 6/8,” she said.

Antigone Rising is a blend of musicianship, an odd collaboration never exhibiting spurious harmonies and an enthusiasm that celebrates the soft and aggressive sides of femininity.

“Say It! an-TIG-uh-nee” begins and ends with the sound of crowd applause, and it is rumored that the band has devoted fans up and down the eastern seaboard. Arriving early to Tasty World may be an advantage.