Alberta is the steely,
working class oil province
of Canada more known for
the Calgary Stampede and the Hart family of wrestling than its indie rock
scene. However, Women perfectly capture the industrial dissonance of the
region’s terrain, harboring a barren, disconnected sound that is equal parts
Joy Division, Bastro and Cluster.
Public Strain, the
third album, was recorded in the dead of winter with Sub Pop recording artist
Chad VanGaalen behind the boards, as he was on the band’s eponymous 2007 debut
LP. And the combination of Chad’s
studio creativity and the continued growth of band members Patrick and Matt
Flegel, Chris Reimer and Michael Wallace as a cohesive unit can be heard in the
heightened sense of scrappy melodic urgency on tracks like “Can’t You See” and
“Head Distraction” as well as the Motorik propulsion of “Locust Valley”.
Public Strain is a
further testament to the subtle sea change in the indie rock universe away from
the precious and fey sounds of the last 10 years and back to the caustic
nihilism of the good old days when The DustDevils and Thinking Fellers Union
Local 282 were the marquee names on Matador instead of Belle and Sebastian and
The New Pornographers and when bands were more concerned with leaving blood on
the floor than words on a blog.
You See, Head Distraction, Locust
Valley RON HART