Album review: Women – ‘Public Strain’ (Jagjaguwar)

Canadian four-piece's second album aims for the romantic, not just the rational

[a]Women[/a]’s self-titled debut was a curious beast; flitting between dense, claustrophobic layering and sweetly distorted pop, it opened its heart out only to then immediately smother itself in impenetrable drones and discordance. Second time round, however, it seems the Canadian four-piece’s guard has somewhat been penetrated, as (though it’s by no means an easy ride) ‘Public Strain’ is an album that invites you in and lets you at least stay for tea. Opener ‘Can’t You See’ proffers frontman Patrick Flegel deadpanning over pleasantly abrasive soundscapes, sounding not unlike a thinking man’s [a]Wavves[/a], before the record takes a chirpier turn for the major chord. We already knew that [a]Women[/a] could aim for the head, but the likes of ‘Penal Colony’’s melancholy choral balladry and ‘Venice Lockjaw’’s sweetly nostalgic lullaby prove that they can now bury their way down to the heart just as well.

Lisa Wright

Click here to get your copy of Women’s ‘Public Strain’ from the Rough Trade shop.

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