July 13, 2010


Douglas Martin once put his little brother in the Sharpshooter leglock and held him there until he vomited.

As challenging and forward-thinking as they are, the four men that make up the band Women mostly set themselves up to be undervalued. Obviously starting with their name, Women quickly became the scourge of every search engine imaginable if you don’t put the word “band” in parentheses. Secondly, their self-titled debut (its album cover adorned with a vintage photograph of a mass tai-chi class or something) was chock full of detuned guitars, knotty guitar work only appreciated by fans of similarly overlooked band The Joggers, an out-of-place ambient interlude, and exactly two songs that could be considered accessible (“Group Transport Hall” and certified banger “Black Rice”). Despite being produced by Chad Vangaalen, Calgary’s greatest contribution to society since Bret Hart, Women‘s biggest claim-to-fame was an honorable mention on Pitchfork’s best-of-2008 list.

Forthcoming sophomore record Public Strain, despite being one of the best psych-rock records of the year, will likely not gain the band many new fans. That is, unless they’re turned on to the album’s closing (and best) track, “Eyesore.” Starting out with a simple beat and chiming interplay between the two guitars, “Eyesore” encapsulates what is great about the band without falling back on the glockenspiel-assisted Velvet Underground homage that was “Black Rice”. The band covers a lot of ground in the 6:25 the song is given, it’s a rewarding twist-and-turn through buildups, breakdowns and hardly-intelligible lyrics filtered through catchy melodies. By the time the minute-and-fifty-second fadeout brings the song and the record to a close, the focus of the band at the height of their powers is practically begging for another listen or three. Not bad for a band who has seemed to do everything in their power to remain fairly anonymous.

MP3: Women-“Eyesore”

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