Women
Public Strain


4.5
superb

Review

by Eno USER (34 Reviews)
October 3rd, 2010 | 348 replies | 13,268 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Women go against the grain of 2010, leaving us with a record that is devoid of any warmth or soul. And that's all the better for them.

8 of 8 thought this review was well written

Seeing a band taking their sound and moving forward with it is always refreshing. The sound of musicians taking risks and mixing up their palette of ideas has a rewarding factor that sails over the opportunity cost of releasing the same sound in varied formats. Women's debut record was a gorgeous take on lo-fi, a more technically minded approach to murky indie pop. The guitar tones weren't fuzzy and huge, but rather dry and cacophonous. They had a unique way of sounding orchestral and minimal simultaneously. On Public Strain they have refined all of these elements and decontextualized them to create something darker; Women's magnum opus. Their lo-fi sound is no longer akin to No Age, but rather a grimier, Velvet Underground-esque sound. The songs deviate from their usual stripped down, 60s pop tunes and focus more around Sonic Youth atonalities. The vocals no longer charm, but rather recall the dry tones of Justin Trosper. That's not to say this new LP is, in essence, a refinement of influence. Public Strain shines with character, finding small moments such as the juxtaposition of feedback bursts and layered vocals in "Narrow with the Hall" to exemplify this quality. No matter just how reverberated and lost in drone each track gets, the actual songwriting manages to retain an emboldened flare, an exercise in ethereality.

If the huge opening drones of "Can't You See" signify anything, it's that Public Strain is a different, more alienated affair, in direct contrast to the jangle pop opener of their self-titled. It flows into the first rocker of the album "Heat Distraction", whose disjointed and off-putting riffage leads way to have vocalist Patrick Flegel moan cryptically over. Inaccessible to say the least, the first half of the record toys with the balancing of melody and dissonance. "China Steps" stands right on this line, the first two and a half minutes focused around nerving clashes of guitars, only to be resolved by gentle keyboarding and reassuring repetition. Women also rely on varying outlets to release their disturbed musical tales, switching up from choirs of treated guitars that would make Thurston Moore proud, to the gentle echos of tracks such as "Penal Colony". The aforementioned track in particular epitomizes the beauty of Flegel's voice, being able to pick up gentle lines such as "talking to you" in the otherwise indecipherable tone of his vocals. His vocals don't rely on any sort of particular lyrics, but the tone and phrasing in which he delivers them. Public Strain's last three offerings are all more pop-oriented, a sort of conclusion to the dark tones of the record. However it's the fact that Flegel's obscured crooning and Krautrock jamming keep a pop track like "Eyesore" from ending on a proper, Phil Spector-pop closer, is what makes this LP not a record of potential songs of the year, but a very big candidate for record of the year. A production to be reveled in, Public Strain is a leap forward for Women and another lovely surprise in the music releases of 2010.



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user ratings (231)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
teddycutler1 (3)
Public Strain is a burial in a heavy sonic snowdrift, a chamber of blanket dissonance, an off-kilter...

Sam Feldman's Rating (4.5)
...

zach (5)
I know I'm late but...

Adam Downer STAFF (5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
AggravatedYeti
October 3rd 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yesyesyes.

Enotron
October 3rd 2010



7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

album had me floored.

if you're reading this b4k, was this better than my last review for flylo? genuinely curious. also didn't like my last sentence, would love your opinion on a conclusion.

sorry if the paragraphs are too big, but I don't feel comfortable splitting them up.

FelixCulpa
October 3rd 2010



1236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Got this. Need to listen though. Nice review.

ConsiderPhlebas
October 3rd 2010



6157 Comments


more better

Enotron
October 3rd 2010



7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

oops meant to write "all the more better for them."

Bitchfork
October 3rd 2010



7584 Comments


Yes it's better but this: "afore mentioned" is one word not two.

gaslightanthem
October 3rd 2010



5209 Comments


yeah so i was gonna get this but then i forgot all about it
nice review

Enotron
October 3rd 2010



7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

thanks sirs

tinkrbel
October 3rd 2010



1698 Comments


good review Eno
pos'd

brutebeard
October 3rd 2010



1655 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Pos'd bro.

There is a lot in this review. Particularly liked this line: "His vocals don't rely on any sort of particular lyrics, but the tone and phrasing in which he delivers them."

This does seem better than their S/T

Enotron
October 3rd 2010



7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

thanks guys, appreciate it

Kaleid
October 3rd 2010



709 Comments


"The songs deviate from their usual stripped down, 60s pop tunes and focus more around Sonic Youth atonalities"

Sounds quality. Nice one.

ConsiderPhlebas
October 3rd 2010



6157 Comments


No need for 'more'.

brutebeard
October 3rd 2010



1655 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Keep up the good feedback laddies

Enotron
October 3rd 2010



7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

@phlebas: alright, will remove

brutebeard
October 3rd 2010



1655 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

@Eno, what band is your av?

gaslightanthem
October 3rd 2010



5209 Comments


unwound

Enotron
October 3rd 2010



7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

oh now that unwound has been brought up, to clarify this album doesn't really sound like unwound, but I get the same sort of vibe, bro

plane
Staff Reviewer
October 3rd 2010



6073 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Still unraveling this album, sneaks up on ya. Reminds me of Slint if Slint wrote songs

Enotron
October 3rd 2010



7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

when first hearing this, I imagined that it would be up right up yr ally lewis



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