Head here to submit your own review of this album.

It took all of seventeen seconds for Chastity Belt's new record, Time to Go Home, to send shivers up my spine. Twenty more seconds passed before the goose bumps set in. At one minute and eight seconds, I stopped walking and felt compelled to say, to no one in particular, "Holy shit." And make no mistake, the power of this tour de force from these Walla Walla, Washington natives is not to be underestimated. Packed to the brim with powerful feminist lyricism, all of which are cased in a beautiful array of dark wave instrumentals, Chastity Belt's second record is a dramatic leap forward that will floor new and established listeners alike.

The group's debut LP, 2013's No Regerts, which was released on Help Yourself Records, was a spry, enjoyable lo-fi affair. The album was a platform for four women fresh from college to mock the inane nature of young adult life, with multiple prolonged musings on the enjoyable nature of getting laid and taking drugs. They also got to manically shout the words "giant vagina." Julia Shapiro, the lead vocalist, lead guitarist and principle songwriter for the group, showcased her knack for jangling guitar riffs on tracks such as 'Seattle Party'. Her lyricism showed flairs of the growth to come on their second effort, including the sarcastic jab on 'James Dean,' in which she sings, "Oh boy, when I fuck you, you make me feel like a prostitute/ Yeah, when you fuck me, I make you feel just like James Dean." But whereas Shapiro got the spotlight, the album's production values did not quite allow for the rest of the group to shine through. The album is quite fun and shows flairs of talent to come, but by and large, No Regerts feels substantially more like the product of college students getting their hands on instruments and recording equipment.

Time to Go Home, however, is about as marked a step forward as a band can possibly make. 'Drone', the album's opener that caused me to have the emotional reaction described above, allows the group to immediately introduce their immense growth. Shapiro's vocals, which are infinitely more powerful and confident this time around, effortlessly reverberate around the thumping beat of Gretchen Grimm's drumming. Meanwhile, Shapiro coats the whole track in a cascading guitar riff that feels like a waterfall reflecting off a sunset on your ears. "He was just another man trying to teach me something," she sings as her vocals soar.

It is ultimately the songwriting that will propel Time to Go Home over the litany of other jangle pop that will fill record stores this year. Shapiro's poetic nature and vulnerability meshes perfectly with a more nuanced form of her humor, allowing for Morrissey-esque moments of hilarious, yet poignant sarcasm. The feminist-imbued lyrics also make this an essential record given the present state of our culture, which is aggressively pursuing the upheaval of long-established patriarchal systems. It would be hard to find more appealing role models for that movement than Chastity Belt.

It is this delicate balance of spectacular music and thoughtful, relevant lyricism that allows Chastity Belt to hang with this year's other best records, namely Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly and Sufjan Steven's Carrie & Lowell. While all three pursue their respective subject matters in vastly different ways, all of the artists had essential commentaries on race, death and, now with Chastity Belt, gender.

In 2014, it was Mac DeMarco that emerged from the shadows to ascend to his current throne in the indie hierarchy. If there is to be any justice in 2015, the clown prince of the music world would be poised to disperse his crown to four young ladies from the Pacific Northwest. They will make you laugh, they will give you chills and they will make you think. Chastity Belt has absolutely obliterated the notion of a sophomore slump. Instead, Time to Go Home is an unrepentant triumph that will ultimately establish the group has one of the most important musical voices showcased in 2015.

This is the place you'll find reviews from 405 Readers. To join in, head here.