Women Public Strain

Women Public Strain
Yes, Women garnered a decent amount of well-deserved buzz for their outrageously good self-titled debut back in 2008, but the Calgary, AB four-piece, a chunk of which often plays back-up for Chad Vangaalen, are still far from household names. That may rankle the band's loyal contingent of rabid fans, but it suits the boys of Women just fine. They're happy enough to continue making gorgeously weird, rhythmically complex pop music that rewards time and careful listening to get at the heart of, and confident enough to stray further than ever off the beaten path. Public Strain is hazier and, at times, harsher than Women was, but like the latter, it's only difficult on the surface ― under the clouds of reverb lay gems like hymnal opener "Can't See You," barnstormer turned daydream "Drag Open" and the harmony-laden buzz of "Narrow With The Hall," all of which showcase the band's melodic dexterity and musical finesse hidden beneath their ramshackle facade. Public Strain is a fearless, genuine, engaging record, an artistic statement that not only rewards, but actually privileges repeated listening. Don't miss it. (Flemish Eye)