Public Strain

Women - Public Strain
Critic Score
Based on 19 reviews
2010 Ratings: #94 / 854
Year End Rank: #50
User Score
Based on 84 ratings
2010 Ratings: #39
September 28, 2010 / Release Date
LP / Format
Jagjaguwar / Label
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The group's sophomore effort, Public Strain, pushes forward in both directions-- the hooks are noisier, the noise is hookier, and both are fogged over with enough reverb to make Felt records seem bone-dry by comparison.

Drowned in Sound

I’ve owned Women’s second album for a couple of months now, and while I’ve listen to Public Strain all the way through on a more than purely professional number of occasions, I’m going to have to be honest and say that closing song ‘Eyesore’ has completely distracted me. Good old suggests that I’ve listened to it via electronic means a solid 29 times, a figure I know to be a gross understatement (but why won’t it scrobble, eh?). It’s a song that has so mercilessly, ungratefully, dare I say cuntishly colonised my day-to-day thoughts that it’s pretty comprehensively thrown off my entire perception of this record. As a result I probably shouldn’t even be writing about Public Strain as a while, but y’know, here we go...

Tiny Mix Tapes

So no, Public Strain isn’t the manic, dirty opus Women was. But it’s still Women. And I’m still in love with it.


Women, a band inevitably consisting entirely of men and hailing from Calgary, fall into this latter, perhaps more radical, camp - combining the melodic and symphonic characteristics of a group remembered for their highly sophisticated symphonic pop with the deliberately sketchy, sometimes abrasive sound of lo-fi recording techniques. At times on their second album, Public Strain, Women seem to have made some further steps towards integrating the two halves of their sound, but their predominant characteristic is a kind of wilful disruption.

No Ripcord

Yes, it’s fine to use the same methods Mr. Reed implemented, but to dole out several minutes of junk noise doesn’t make you seem unique, clever, or even like students of the game; it makes you sound pretentious.

It's like telling someone your deepest emotions through a can on a string from opposite ends of a desert. Everything sounds so far away, but it's still intimate and close. Not a combination you hear very often in my opinion.

EDIT: I hope people really pay attention to how much is really going on within Bells. Both the instrumentation and chord progression are hauntingly gorgeous.

Favorite Tracks: Bells, Can't You See, Penal Colony, Venice Lockjaw, Eyesore

Least Favorite: Heat Distraction
Wow this record just blew me away. Public Strain is a record which immediately hits your ears with a cacophony of noise and yes this is some what of a noise rock record it has loud abrasive moments and just really aggressive and uninviting instrumentation but something about how subdued and simplistic this wave of sound is give an air of vulnerability. The dark and moody atmosphere Women paint is just brilliant, the experimentation and insanely good guitar riffs on here makes this things sound ... read more
Grew on me. I can see it grow even more
This album had good ideas and cool flows from tracks China step-locusts valley, but it pushes a druggy sound way to far, has too much reverb, bland, and too digestible that it isnt exciting nor challenging.
So memorizing and poignant
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Track List

  1. Can't You See
  2. Heat Distraction
  3. Narrow With The Hall
  4. Penal Colony
  5. Bells
  6. China Steps
  7. Untogether
  8. Drag Open
  9. Locust Valley
  10. Venice Lockjaw
  11. Eyesore

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